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.
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.”
Farrell had shown imperious form in the Lions’ fine 12-3 win over much-vaunted Super Rugby leaders the Crusaders in Christchurch last weekend.
Head coach Warren Gatland will want the 25-year-old to play a pivotal role in the first Test against the All Blacks on Saturday week.
So the 52-cap England star will now launch an immediate bid to ease past this setback to contest selection for the Eden Park showdown