Rowntree plays down Warburton concerns

British and Irish Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree played down fears over the severity of captain Sam Warburton's ankle injury.

Warburton has been left out of the squad for Saturday's clash against Super Rugby side Crusaders due to the injury suffered in the Lions' tour opener.

But Rowntree dismissed any concerns the problem was long-term, insisting the Wales star would be back.

"At this point, he's missed a couple of days training and it's not a long-term issue," the Lions scrum coach told a news conference on Friday.

"That's rugby, he won't be the only person who doesn't train fully in the next five days.

"We don't want him training fully as we don't want him twisting and turning but he's running hard.

"But to the people back home - don't worry about Sam. He's just having a few days out but he's training hard."

The Lions are looking to bounce back when they face Crusaders in Christchurch, having gone down to Blues 22-16 on Wednesday for their first loss of the tour.

Crusaders have won all 14 of their Super Rugby games this season and have seven All Blacks in their squad, but Rowntree said he was excited by the challenge.

"These are the games that we want going into a Test series, playing against a top team full of All Blacks. We've had a good look at them as well," he said.

"In my area of the game it's a massive challenge and I've got so much respect for their set-piece but I trust our guys.

"We've got some good performers, that starting pack, the experience they've gained for their countries and playing in European finals, it's going to be a real challenge."

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