x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

British & Irish Lions: Gethin Jenkins to sit out game against the Barbarians

The Wales prop will miss the opening match of the British & Irish Lions tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday as he recovers from a long-standing calf injury.

Namibia's Theuns Kotze, right, attempts to tackle Wales' Gethin Jenkins during their Rugby World Cup Pool D match at Stadium Taranaki in New Plymouth September 26, 2011. Nigel Marple / Reuters
Namibia's Theuns Kotze, right, attempts to tackle Wales' Gethin Jenkins during their Rugby World Cup Pool D match at Stadium Taranaki in New Plymouth September 26, 2011. Nigel Marple / Reuters

Gethin Jenkins will miss the opening match of the British & Irish Lions tour against the Barbarians in Hong Kong on Saturday.

The Wales prop has aggravated his long-standing calf injury, but it is not expected to rule him out of the second match in Perth against Western Force next Wednesday.

"The physios are hopeful he will be up and running in three to four days. He's been training really hard and is in really good nick," head coach Warren Gatland said.

The Barbarians were comprehensively beaten by England at Twickenham on Sunday but Dai Young, their coach, has a much stronger squad to choose from in Asia, and Gatland was expecting a bolder show from the legendary club side.

"I think you will see a different team turn out and they will be a little bit more motivated," he added. "You saw after about 20 minutes on Sunday that a few of their guys were walking around - I think the sun ... earlier in the week may have got to them and I think turning up in Hong Kong will be a different side."

The Barbarians squad trained in temperatures of over 30°C and humidity of 80 per cent yesterday.

The 37 Lions players arrived in Hong Kong yesterday on two different planes from London, ahead of the first match by the touring side in the special administrative region.

The advantage of a workout could prove crucial as the Lions have struggled in recent times in their first outing.

In South Africa in 2009, they required a second-half comeback to beat Royal XV 37-25, while in London in 2005 they salvaged a 25-25 draw against Argentina.

"It's a bit warm for them, but we will take it on our stride," tour manager Andy Irvine told The Guardian on arrival. "It's a big game for us.

"You never want to start the tour on a downturn. People say it is an exhibition game, but it is far from that. This is the real thing."

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