Combined Country XV v Lions: Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton latest injury worries
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: 11/06/13 10:17am
The Lions have plenty of injury problems ahead of their latest tour match in Australia against a Combined Country XV in Newcastle on Tuesday.
Fly-halves Jonathan Sexton and Owen Farrell both missed training in Newcastle on Monday, but Warren Gatland has not been on the phone to Johnny Wilkinson to call for back-up just yet.
Lions coach Andy Farrell has insisted both sat out as a precaution, with his son just nursing a dead leg while Irishman Sexton has a tight hamstring, but with neither in the squad for Tuesday's game they have plenty of time to recover.
There is better news for the tourists with full-back Rob Kearney, the only player not to have featured yet on tour, back in training after a hamstring tear and looking like being fit to play at the weekend.
"Like every game of rugby, guys have got little knocks and tweaks, but there is nothing serious," Farrell said. "Owen has just got a bit of a dead leg, that's all, so that is precautionary. Jonny was just a little bit tight, but he's fine as well.
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"Rob trained this morning and he ran very well. He will be back with the boys, the non 23, tomorrow morning, and he will be looking to be fit for the weekend."
Alex Corbisiero will be thrown straight into the starting line-up at prop after the Lions lost both Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins to injury, with the other replacement Ryan Grant being named on the bench.
Brian O'Driscoll will captain the side for the second time on this tour, and with Tommy Bowe trying to recover from hand surgery Welsh wingers Alex Cuthbert and George North, who both start, could well be the Test starters for Australia.
Manu Tuilagi has also been taking it easy as he nurses a shoulder injury so he misses the game completely, but Mike Phillips has recovered enough from a swollen knee to take up his place on the bench.
For the hosts, Flanker Beau Robinson has been ruled out of the Combined Country XV after he was carried off with a nasty head injury playing for the Reds against the Lions on Saturday.
Assessing the Combined Country team's challenge, Farrell said: "For the 23 that are going to come against us, it's probably going to be the biggest game of their lives.
"You can play against anyone and for the first 20-25 minutes it's always going to be a battle. They will bring a lot of intensity and guts to the game."
Combined Country XV: N Trist; A Gibbon, L Catt, T Siaksini, T Cox; A Roberts, M Snowdon; H Hirsimaki, J Mann-Rae, T Metcher, P Battye, B Enever, R Stanford, J Butler, T Davidson (capt).
Replacements: T Kearney, D Evans, R Abraham, R Arnold, T Dyer, A McCormack, S McCarthy, D Ahwang
Lions: S Maitland (Scotland); A Cuthbert (Wales), B O'Driscoll (Ireland, capt), J Roberts (Wales), G North (Wales); S Hogg (Scotland), C Murray (Ireland); A Corbisiero (England), R Hibbard (Wales), D Cole (England), R Gray (Scotland), I Evans (Wales), S O'Brien (Ireland), J Tipuric (Wales), J Heaslip (Ireland).
Replacements: R Best (Ireland), R Grant (Scotland), M Stevens (England), A-W Jones (Wales), T Faletau (Wales), M Phillips (Wales), J Davies (Wales), L Halfpenny (Wales)
Lions v Combined Country 2013
Alex Cuthbert feels the British and Irish Lions could have been more ruthless in their win over the Combined Country XV.
Alex Cuthbert feels the British and Irish Lions should have been more ruthless in their win over the Combined Country XV.
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- Country-Lions recap
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- Hogg revels in fly-half role
- Hogg display impresses Howley
- O'Driscoll satisfied with win
- Lions feast on Combined XV
- Lions ratings
- Farrell backs rookie 10 Hogg
- Farrell allays injury fears
- Robinson out of Lions clash
- Gatland hails Lions progress
- O'Connell: Bowe exit big blow
- Lions start for Corbisiero
- Country XV 0 Lions 64
- Bowe joins Lions casualties
- Combined Country squad named