Warren Gatland: 'Sam Warburton may still play for British and Irish Lions'

Wales's Sam Warburton is tackled
© PA Photos
Warren Gatland says that Sam Warburton is still in contention to be part of the British and Irish Lions team despite not playing for Wales.

Warren Gatland has said that he could still select Sam Warburton for the British and Irish Lions tour, despite the flanker being dropped by Wales.

The 24-year-old missed the win over France with a shoulder injury, but has been left out of the side to face Italy next weekend after Justin Tipuric impressed in his place.

The Lions coach told the Western Mail: "[Interim Wales coach] Rob Howley was right to stick with the same team for the Italian game, and right to name it early to defuse a week's worth of focus on Sam not being picked.

"But Sam will play many more times for Wales, and he'll captain Wales again. In terms of the Lions, of course he's still in contention. Nobody is ruled out.

"When you are picking a squad of 36 or 37 a lot of different factors come in to the equation, you have to think about combinations being right and having cover in certain positions. Sam isn't starting against Italy, but Rob put his faith in a winning side and I totally understand that."

The tour of Australia is due to take place during June and July.

Sam Warburton
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