Warren Gatland’s son could face touring Lions in New Zealand

Bryn Gatland of North Harbour is the son of Lions coach Warren. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images
Bryn Gatland of North Harbour is the son of Lions coach Warren. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images
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Warren Gatland’s son could line up against the British and Irish Lions during this summer’s New Zealand tour.

Bryn Gatland, son of the Lions coach, has been named in the New Zealand Barbarians squad to face the tourists on 3 June.

Gatland junior is a 21-year-old stand-off who plays for North Harbour and was recently called up by the Super Rugby side Auckland Blues.

The match against the New Zealand Barbarians is the first of the tour and will take place in the Toll Stadium in Whangarei.

Gatland is one of 19 players initially named in the squad. Further players will be added by coach Clayton McMillan before the team assembles on 28 May.

The team is made up of players from the three divisions of New Zealand’s national provincial championship.

Sam Warburton, meanwhile, remains a clear bookmakers’ favourite to captain the Lions this summer despite his injury setback.

The Wales and Cardiff Blues flanker is expected to be sidelined for six weeks as he recovers from a knee ligament strain.

Warburton was hurt during the Blues’ Guinness Pro12 clash against Ulster last Friday, but Blues head coach Danny Wilson has allayed any fears about the 28-year-old’s Lions tour hopes.

Warburton is expected to be named in Warren Gatland’s squad next week – and potentially as skipper – for the three-Test trip in June and July despite the low grade medial strain which is expected to keep him out for approximately six weeks.

Warburton will miss the Blues’ Pro12 appointment with the Ospreys on Saturday, plus remaining regular season fixtures against Zebre and Newport Gwent Dragons.

l Harlequins forward Jack Clifford will not be in contention for England’s summer tour of Argentina due to injury.

The 24-year-old, who has won ten caps during Eddie Jones’ England coaching reign, is to undergo shoulder surgery.

Quins said the operation will repair a recurring injury that Clifford sustained earlier this season. He is expected to be sidelined for 12 weeks.

He is set to miss his club’s three remaining Aviva Premiership games against Exeter, Wasps and Northampton, in addition to possible European Champions Cup qualification play-off fixtures late next month.