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Davies must come through training as Lions get set to name strong XV

Warren Gatland will name something close to his Test side overnight.

Murray Kinsella reports from New Zealand

WELSH CENTRE JONATHAN Davies will have to come through Lions training on Thursday if he is to be named in a strong XV to face the Māori All Blacks in Rotorua this weekend.

Warren Gatland is set to announce something close to a first-choice Lions side a week out from the opening Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park on 24 June.

Jonathan Davies down injured Davies suffered a head injury against the Crusaders. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The All Blacks are set to name their team for Friday night’s clash with Samoa at 6pm Irish time on Wednesday, meaning both camps will be attempting to make accurate predictions for the Test sides in two weekends’ time.

“It won’t be far off what we play a week on Saturday,” said Lions assistant coach Neil Jenkins today in Rotorua. “It’s getting closer.

“It will be quite interesting on the weekend from both the All Blacks’ point of view and ours.”

Outside centre Davies had his first Lions appearance of this tour against the Crusaders last Saturday cut short by a head injury in the first half and he must come through training tomorrow if he is to be named in the team to face the Māori.

“Jonathan is still going through protocols but hopefully he’ll be back in training tomorrow and we’ll see from there,” said Jenkins.

Welsh back row Ross Moriarty has started running in training again after a back injury, but lock Courtney Lawes definitely won’t be involved this weekend following a concussion against the Highlanders on Tuesday.

“He’s been OK today, but it’s the same as always with head injuries – the protocols and see how he goes for the rest of the week,” said Jenkins. “He’s a tough old character, he wanted to walk off the pitch, albeit with a bit of help.”

inpho_01222703 Lawes was helped off after suffering concussion. Source: Photosport/Joe Allison/INPHO

Among those players who may be doubling up this week, featuring again after being involved against the Highlanders, is captain Sam Warburton.

The Cardiff Blues openside grew into the defeat in Dunedin, but he needs more games to find his best form after overcoming an ankle injury.

“It was certainly better from Warby, and it was nice for him to get a run-out last night,” said Jenkins. “There were quite a few turnovers and carried quite a few balls.

“For Sam, it’s just about keeping getting game time if he can. I don’t know what the outcome will be on the weekend, but it was a big improvement from him, and the more game time he plays the better he’s going to be.

“Sam’s a top-end player, a quality, world-class seven, but again it’s the same as anything – you need to be playing to keep getting yourself back up to the levels that you need to.

“Warby would be the first to be admitting that, there’s no doubting that, but he had a much, much better game last night and he’ll keep improving, there’s no doubt.”

The Lions will name their team to face the Māori at 2am Irish time on Thursday.

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Murray Kinsella

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