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Henshaw back running as Lions wait for clarity amid Covid uncertainty

The Springboks and Bulls have both reported positive Covid-19 cases.

Henshaw has started running again.
Henshaw has started running again.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

ROBBIE HENSHAW HAS started running again at Lions training as he progresses with the rehabilitation of his hamstring injury.

The Ireland international is sidelined with what the Lions have described as a “mild strain” of his hamstring and will miss tomorrow’s clash with the Sharks and Saturday’s scheduled game against the Bulls.

But assistant coach Steve Tandy has reported that Henshaw is making good progress as he targets a return ahead of the Lions Test series against the Springboks.

“Robbie’s tracking really well,” said Tandy today. “He was doing a bit of running today so he’s looking good.”

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg, who was named on the bench for the Sharks game, currently has a dead leg and Tandy said the Lions will make a final call on his involvement tomorrow.

While the Lions are still due to face the Sharks tomorrow, Saturday’s game against the Bulls is now in major doubt after positive Covid-19 cases in the Bulls squad.

While Tandy said the Lions had received no confirmation on the status of that game, there are strong fears it will be called off.

Similarly, there are major doubts over the Springboks’ meeting with Georgia on Friday night. The South Africans remain in isolation with training suspended after lock Lood de Jager tested positive for Covid yesterday.

Tandy stressed that the Lions are doing everything in their power to keep a strict bubble as the third wave of Covid-19 sweeps across South Africa.

He said the tourists don’t have plans nailed down for this weekend in the event that the Bulls game is confirmed as cancelled.

warren-gatland-watches-over-the-captains-run The Lions at their captain's run in Ellis Park today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“We haven’t confirmed yet, obviously we’ve spoken about it. We may give an extra day off and train a bit harder on the Friday. We haven’t confirmed.

“Through Covid, I think you learn you need to adapt. You can have the best-laid plans, but things move really quickly and change. It’s just about being prepared for whatever comes our way at whatever moment in time. 

“Whatever the group needs – more contact, an extra day off for recovery – we’ll just adapt that as we go.”

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With the Lions and Georgia camps both Covid-free as things stand, there have been suggestions that they could play each other if both of the currently-scheduled fixtures are confirmed as being cancelled.

Tandy indicated that the Lions may be open to such a prospect.

“You’re really talking in hypotheticals,” said the Scotland defence coach. “Anything is possible through Covid, we’ve seen that. If there are any other games called off, then playing would be great for us and whoever else is looking for a game.”

Of course, losing out on warm-up fixtures would deny Lions players the opportunity to impress ahead of the three-game Test series against the Boks, which is due to kick off on 24 July.

It could also make life more difficult for the Lions coaches in terms of their selection.

“You have to adapt and what will be will be,” said Tandy. “We see the boys training, how they do in that, and we like to think everyone will have a chance to put their name in the hat for the Test series. We watch these boys every day.

“People can make it more difficult than it is. It’s already going to be difficult because the absolute standard of training and the games is huge. I don’t think it will make too much of a difference.” 

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