Laidlaw hitting right notes as Lions tune up for All Blacks


Warren Gatland made no secret that the British and Irish Lions will be using choir practice to bond as a team and it appears Greig Laidlaw has been the man impressing with his vocal talent.

The Lions have been putting their singing skills to the test as they prepare for a 10-match tour of New Zealand, which will see them attempt to record a first series win over the All Blacks.

And it is Scotland half-back Laidlaw - a late call-up after Ben Youngs' withdrawal for family reasons - who has apparently been hitting the right notes, at least according to kicking coach Neil Jenkins.

Asked what the team have been doing to come together as a unit, Jenkins told a media conference: "There's been a few things. We've had choir practice. But these boys have knitted quickly.

"They play against each other and know each other. We've had a song from each country and had a bit of fun in the evenings singing together. Greig Laidlaw has been pretty good."

Lions captain Sam Warburton is to miss Cardiff Blues' European Champions Cup play-off with Stade Francais as he continues to recover from a knee injury that has keep him out of action since April 7.

"He's doing well, he hasn't done everything, but whether he plays for the Blues is a discussion for Gats [Gatland] and the physios," Jenkins said of Warburton.

Wales hooker Ken Owens is another member of the squad who will miss out for his club side, as he sits out Scarlets' Pro12 semi-final with Leinster because of an ankle issue.

"It's rugby at the end of the day, stuff does happen and players get injured," said Jenkins.

"Hopefully Ken is going to be fine although he is missing a big game for the Scarlets this weekend.

"With a bit of luck everything is going to be okay for the Lions."

The first match of the three-Test series takes place on June 24.