Jun 24, 2017 at 8.35am UK
New Zealand
LionsBritish and Irish Lions
Taylor (18'), Ioane (55', 69')
O'Brien (36'), Webb (80')

Sam Warburton: 'I could miss first British and Irish Lions Test'

Warburton: 'I could miss first Lions Test'
© Getty Images
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton admits that he could miss the first Test against New Zealand despite having recovered from an ankle injury.

British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has admitted that he could miss his side's opening Test against New Zealand despite recovering from an ankle injury.

The 28-year-old has not featured since the opening game of the tour, but will lead the team out in Tuesday's clash with the Highlanders having overcome an injury sustained in the win over New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.

However, the back-rower believes that he needs more than just one game under his belt in order to be at full fitness for the first Test against the All Blacks, which takes place at Eden Park on June 24.

"I definitely need more games. I definitely admit that and I knew that coming into the tour. I've learned from experience that it takes me at least two games and then the third game I'll probably be playing some good rugby but Gats (coach Warren Gatland) knew that. I've received this role as tour captain and I know there's every chance that I might not even get involved in that first Test because there's every other player," he told reporters.

"I see it as I'm tour captain, and if I've made the Test then that would be a bonus for me, but I've said there's three Tests to get selected for so it's not the be-all and end-all with the first one. I'll be honest with Gats and Gats will be honest with me - if I play Tuesday and I still feel I'm a bit undercut, then I might not be ready for that first Test. Maybe that would be the situation, or maybe I could have a blinder on Tuesday and feel absolutely fine so we'll see how it goes, really.

"I'll be perfectly honest with Warren and if I feel I need more games then I'll tell him if I don't feel ready. And if I don't need anything more then I'll obviously let him know that with a good performance. When I play well and I am match-fit, I am aggressive in the tackle, I'll contribute handful of good carries, and you become a lineout option. And more importantly, which hasn't really been a factor in the last three games, is turnovers.

"We haven't seen a whole lot of turnovers. You've got to be able to do everything, but you've got to bring a specialist element and I guess my one specialist element is the contact area. I guess I have to deliver in that area on Tuesday. That's my role of expertise. I picked up the injury about 15 minutes into the first game. I was thinking, 'oh no, this can't be happening'. Over the next five minutes it was sore but I've had a few bumps now and I tend to know when it's serious and I have to come off."

The Lions have won two and lost one of their three matches so far.

Sam Warburton of Wales looks on during the RBS Six Nations match between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield Stadium on February 15, 2015
Read Next:
Warburton to feature against Highlanders
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole