Jamie Roberts injury concern for Lions
June 15, 2013
Lions centre Jamie Roberts hobbles from the field in Sydney © Getty Images
British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts has emerged as a major injury concern ahead of the first Test against Australia in Brisbane next weekend.
Roberts limped out of the Lions' 47-17 victory over the Waratahs earlier today with a suspected torn hamstring that looks set to rule him out of the June 22 showdown with the Wallabies and perhaps the rest of the tour.
Coach Warren Gatland was delighted with his side's confidence-boosting against a spirited Waratahs side stripped of many of their internationals but rued the latest injury blow to hit his plans with Roberts set to undergo a scan tomorrow.
Gatland said: "I think he's torn a bit of a hamstring but I'm not 100 per cent sure, I haven't spoken to the medics and we've had a couple of (injuries) already so I'll just have to wait to get back in the changing rooms."
He added: "We will get Jamie scanned tomorrow. The medics thought it might have been a hamstring, but he said he has never pulled a hamstring before, so he is not kind of sure. It is fingers crossed it might not be that."
Reflecting on his team's performance, Gatland praised his side's discipline in the face of a fired up Waratahs side. "We got what we expected. The Waratahs talked about taking it to us physically. They tried to do that, and I thought our guys responded to that physicality. In the end, we were just too big and powerful.
"The big key in this game was keeping our discipline. It would have been easy enough for someone to be taken late, then lose their head and throw a punch, it to be picked up and then cited. I thought our discipline was absolutely fantastic. There were little shoulders and charges and guys being taken late and stuff. That's part of rugby, people try to unsettle you a little bit, and we've got to accept that.
"It is how you respond to that sort of niggle, and I thought our guys were brilliant at it. They were a credit to the Lions and wearing that jersey because there was some provocation out there.
"We felt there has been a little bit of off-the-ball stuff in the first couple of games, but we said we were not going to bitch and moan about it. We are not going to get involved in any accusations against the opposition. We want to go out there and play some hard, physical rugby."
Gatland reserved special praise for centre Jonathan Davies who was a key figure throughout and notched a try. "I thought Jonathan was fantastic," said Gatland. "Given the quality of our midfield and the pressure he was under to respond, I thought it was one of the best games I've seen him play, and so did (lock) Alun-Wyn Jones. I thought both of them really stood up.
Jonathan Davies: There is still a lot to do
"It is quite nice to come in the changing room afterwards and someone like Brian O'Driscoll says 'man, how good was Jonathan Davies today?' I thought he was very, very good."
Gatland also had praise for Halfpenny, who finished just seven points short of equalling the all-time Lions individual record of 37 set by former England fly-half Alan Old against South West Districts during the 1974 South Africa tour.
"Apart from Leigh's goal-kicking, some of his lines of running, his kicking out of hand, his positional play defensively, he is playing at the top of his game," Gatland added. "But he is the ultimate professional. He prepares and does everything you would expect of him."
Gatland was also asked about cheating allegations levelled against the Lions by Australia's 1991 World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer in an Australian newspaper today.
But he said: "I think it is a sad indictment on the media world that they rolled out Bob Dwyer. I think he deserves more respect than that, for what he has achieved in the game, to be honest with you. To see the tirade of abuse that he has now been subjected to on websites and stuff, I find that sad. He doesn't deserve that for what he has achieved in the game."
Captain Sam Warburton went a long way to silencing his doubters and welcomed the tough test offered by the hosts. Warburton told Sky Sports 1: "The Waratahs were really tough and I don't think the score reflected the way they played, but we definitely stepped up and I knew we had to.
"I thought the forwards did a great job and the backs were very clinical so I'm very pleased with the performance. From watching the Waratahs we knew they were very similar to us and very direct.
ESPN's Tom Hamilton and Inside Rugby's Alex Broun deliver thier verdict
After tackling Super Rugby side Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday night, the Lions head to Brisbane. "That's the bit we're most looking forward to and next week is going to be massive," Warburton added. "Australia are an intensely tough side to play and it's going to be a challenge on Saturday.
"But we first go into the game against the Brumbies and it's going to be another tough one for us so until that game's over we just have to think about that. Next week we'll have an edge as there will be more fans in Brisbane and it will be game on."
Waratahs head coach and former Leinster boss Michael Cheika admitted the Lions had left an impression. "I thought we got stuck right in, but where we got caught out was when we turned over the ball. Their class showed," he said. "You have got to put heat on the nine and 10 at this level. That's the game. They are orchestrating the team, the direction, the plays, so you've got to keep them hopping."
Tahs captain Dave Dennis, who was especially pleased to see over 41,000 fans pack Sydney's Allianz Stadium, said: "We hung in there and I thought we played some good rugby. They're a quality team and we knew what we needed to do to go to that next level as a squad. It was a great experience for a young team. You get one chance to play in that game in your career so they didn't leave much out there.
"It was very good but we just need to tighten up a few areas. But I hope our fans are proud of the performance. It's going to be a tough first Test and they're doing quite well so it's going to be physical and a tough Test. It was a special experience for me and for all of the boys to run out here in front of the fans and we're really trying to move forward as a club so the support means a lot to us."
Lions captain Sam Warburton offloads the ball under pressure © PA Photos
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