Warren Gatland has delivered an upbeat fitness bulletin on three members of his British & Irish Lions squad.
Captain Sam Warburton, scrum-half Conor Murray and lock Alun Wyn Jones are all currently injured.
Maro Itoje feared that he had missed out on British and Irish Lions selection amid the noise generated by his Saracens team-mates cheering Jamie George’s inclusion.
Warren Gatland’s British & Irish Lions face the All Blacks in eight weeks and we look at the form of players selected and those who could make the plane to New Zealand in the case of injury.
The British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand this summer will be the last in its existing six-week format, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.
They were named last month in the 41-man squad for this summer’s New Zealand tour and remain on course to be fully fit.
Warburton is sidelined because of a knee injury but could play for Cardiff Blues ahead of the Lions’ departure for Auckland on May 29.
Ireland star Murray, meanwhile, has not played since mid-March due to a shoulder problem, and Warburton’s Wales colleague Jones also has a shoulder injury.
“[Warburton] is good,” Lions head coach Gatland told Sky Sports News HQ.
“I spoke to Sam yesterday and he feels that he could play now, and so he has made some really good progress and is really happy with how he has responded to treatment over the last few weeks.
“I expect him to play before he goes to New Zealand.
“[Jones] is making good progress as well. [Lions assistant coach] Steve Borthwick went down and saw him last week and he’s confident that he is going to be okay as well.
“Conor Murray, the prognosis with him looks pretty positive in terms of hopefully getting back and getting a game for Munster as well and that will be good for him over the next few weeks if he can get a game.”
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