BRITISH and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has revealed that Alex Corbisiero and Jamie Roberts are unlikely to participate in Saturday’s second Test against Australia.
England loosehead prop Corbisiero and Wales centre Roberts missed the 23-21 first Test victory over the Wallabies in Brisbane with respective calf and hamstring injuries that look set to take another week to heal.
“At this stage it’s a little bit doubtful that they’ll be involved,” Gatland said.
Corbisiero and Roberts will be assessed on Thursday, when the team for the second Test at Etihad Stadium 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,” 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 announced a clean bill of health from the match – with the proviso that nothing develops in the next 24 hours – and also confirmed that Paul O’Connell would be staying in Australia.
The Irishman was yesterday ruled out of the rest of the tour with a fractured arm but was told he would be welcome to remain with the squad. “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 delighted with the performance against a committed if limited Rebels side and reminded the players that they may yet be needed for the second and third Tests.
“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.
“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.”
Wales flanker Dan Lydiate enjoyed his spell as Lions captain. “The boys were champing at the bit and you could feel the intensity in the changing room before the game. It was quite easy to lead them,” he said.