Lions could scrap Saturday's tour game after Covid and injury crisis rocks Gatland's squad

WARREN GATLAND is assessing his Covid-hit Lions squad before deciding if they can play a game on Saturday.

The Kiwi coach was even due to name a team here in South Africa at 11am (10am GMT) – but that has now been scrapped.

A South African opposition has been found – but Gatland isn't sure his boys can play again after FOURTEEN of his squad and were forced to self-isolate.

Taking into account bumps and bruises, as well as recovery from last night's thumping win against The Sharks, it looks like it will go to the wire as to when the third game on tour will be.

After beating the Sharks Gatland said: "Look, I need to talk to the medical team about that and get a report from them.

"We’ll talk about whether there’s a game for the weekend.

"My understanding is that one of the Covid positives is a very weak positive and if he is retested tomorrow and it’s negative then his close contacts should be okay.

"We’ll probably need to wait for that. Then I’ll need a report back from the medical team about how the players are today.

"Someone like Josh Adams has fronted up three games in a row, so he’s a player we probably need to rest.

"I have to take my hat off to these players, they’ve really dug deep for the whole squad. It just shows to me what it means to play for the Lions."

Hat-trick hero Duhan van der Merwe and Louis Rees-Zammit both came off with minor muscle problems at the end of Wednesday night's game.

But Gatland added: "They’re not injuries.

"It’s just their hamstrings were tightening up, the game was won so we just took them off as a precaution.

"There was no need to risk them. They had done a lot of running in the game, Duhan had scored three tries and Louis had got on the scoresheet as well.

"There was no point in risking those players, who had given us everything that they had.

"Ali Price had a bit of a hit on his quad, so he fronted up and then Owen Farrell as well.

"Finn Russell’s achilles had been sore, so he went on the bench for us. We had those players doing those sorts of things.

"We weren’t too disrupted with the forward pack. On the bench, Tadhg Beirne had to come out so Maro Itoje came in there.

"We put in Hamish Watson and Taulupe Faletau just to cover.

"We know they could have gone into the backline if they needed but we were able to bring them on in the forwards.

"The backs had it really tough. I said afterwards that it was a hell of a lot easier for the forwards because they were able to get replaced.

"Our backs dug incredibly deep.

"Then we took Duhan van der Merwe off because his hamstrings were tightening up and we were able to score Josh Adams’ try when we were down to 14 men.

"Then Louis Rees-Zammit’s hamstrings tightened up so we played the last few minutes with 13 men when the game was comfortably in the bag."

    Source: Read Full Article