Australia v British & Irish Lions, June 29
Corbisiero and Roberts set to miss Test clash
June 25, 2013
Wales centre Jamie Roberts looks unlikely to feature in the Lions' second Test clash with Australia © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has conceded that prop Alex Corbisiero and centre Jamie Roberts are unlikely to feature in Saturday's second Test clash with Australia in Melbourne.
Corbisiero started the Lions' 23-21 first Test victory in Brisbane last weekend but was forced out of the game in the second half with a calf complaint that continues to trouble the England international. Roberts missed the Suncorp Stadium win with a hamstring injury suffered in the defeat of the Waratahs earlier this month and the Welshman looks set to miss out once again at the Etihad Stadium.
"At this stage it's a little bit doubtful that they'll be involved," said Gatland, who also revealed that both players will be assessed on Thursday when the team to face the Wallabies will be announced.
"Alex is struggling a little bit and Jamie is probably in the same boat. Both of them should be fine for the third Test, but at this stage......," he said. "We have a recovery day tomorrow when everyone's off. Then we'll look at seeing how they are on Thursday morning. The medics have been doing a fantastic job for us and they might be declared fit, but it's doubtful."
Gatland has also revealed that lock Paul O'Connell will remain with the squad for the remainder of the tour despite being ruled out of action with a fractured arm. "Paul has been given the option to stay. I don't think he will be on a Lions tour in four years' time. He played such an important role in our win in the first Test," Gatland said.
"A lot of players who have been around for a while haven't had a lot of success in the southern hemisphere and were desperate for it. Paul was one of those. It's a big loss for Paul and the squad because he was playing some of the best rugby I've seen him play in a long, long time. He looked in great shape. The combination between him and Alun-Wyn Jones was starting to look very strong."
Gatland was speaking following his side's latest midweek success - a 35-0 thrashing of the Rebels in Melbourne. Tries from Conor Murray, Sean Maitland, Sean O'Brien and Ben Youngs helped the tourists erase the memory of their shock loss to the Brumbies last week.
"That was a good response to the disappointment of last week. We said beforehand it was an opportunity for players to put their hands up," he said. "Richie Gray had his best game on tour, Richard Hibbard carried the ball well, Conor Murray and Ben Youngs were good, as was Sean Maitland.
"The spirit really came out today, demonstrated by the way we didn't concede any points. There's still an opportunity for people to be involved because there are two games. Given the attritional rate, there are bound to be a few injuries between now and the final Test.
"Even if you're not selected or involved in the next two Tests, you can still feel proud of having been part of a successful Lions tour. That's what the aim is. These guys have been fantastic ambassadors for the four home unions and everyone back home should be proud of the way they're conducted themselves on and off the field."
Prop Alex Corbisiero is set to miss Saturday's second Test clash with the Wallabies © PA Photos
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.