Lions sweat on Owen Farrell’s fitness ahead of Test series

OWEN FARRELL faces a race against time to be fit for the British and Irish Lions’ first Test against New Zealand after suffering a quadriceps strain.

The England fly-half will miss Saturday’s Maori All Blacks clash with a “grade one” quad injury – and the Lions will hope he can recover in time to face New Zealand in Auckland on June 24 with the world champions already huge favourites with 888sport.

Wales fly-half Dan Biggar will replace Farrell on the Lions’ bench for Saturday’s Maori clash in Rotorua .

“Owen Farrell has suffered a grade one quadriceps strain in training and has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions match against the Maori All Blacks on Saturday evening,” read a Lions statement.

“The England and Saracens playmaker will be replaced on the bench by Wales fly-half Dan Biggar.”

Tour skipper Sam Warburton is among the replacements for Saturday’s game while Maro Itoje starts at lock in an otherwise unchanged pack from the one that beat the Crusaders.

The Lions have yet to offer a prognosis on Farrell, and while a grade one strain will not keep him out for long, there is cause for concern.

An injury like this can keep you out for over a week so the fly-half may well be touch and go for the first test in Auckland on June 24

One man who has beaten injury is Sam Warburton but head coach Warren Gatland says he faces stiff competition to nail a back row spot against the All Blacks.

“He is fully aware that loose-forward trio went extremely well against the Crusaders,” Gatland said.

“This tour isn’t about Sam Warburton, it’s about putting the squad first, so if he isn’t involved in the first Test he will fully understand that.”

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