'No announcement' on Lions reinforcements


British and Irish Lions assistant coach Steve Borthwick has denied New Zealand boss Steve Hansen's claim that the tourists are set to call upon a contingent of reinforcements.

The Lions have endured a difficult start to their 10-match tour, beating the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians and Crusaders but losing to Blues and Highlanders.

With Stuart Hogg forced to withdraw from the squad and the likes of Sam Warburton and Owen Farrell struggling with ankle and thigh issues respectively ahead of the first Test against the All Blacks next Saturday, Hansen alleged that coach Warren Gatland will bolster his ranks for the second half of the campaign.

Borthwick insisted there are no imminent plans for such an announcement during a media conference ahead of Saturday's match with the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua, though his refusal to rule it out has heightened rumours additions will be called for.

"I think if there's a situation where call-ups are going to happen for any player that will be dealt with at the appropriate time when an announcement is to be made. Right now there's no announcement," said Borthwick. "I'm concentrating on Saturday's game."

Asked if Hansen's comments were frustrating to the Lions, Borthwick added: "I'm not giving what anyone else is saying a second thought. I'm concentrating on our team.

"I'm concentrating on coaching the team as well as I can. I think I've been hugely impressed by the leadership of the players, all the players in how close this group is.

"All the players have worked hard to ensure it's a tight, socially cohesive group. If and when there's any situation for an announcement [on players to join the squad], that will come then.

"Right now there's no announcement and I'm concentrating on the game on Saturday."

Courtney Lawes is also a concern for the Lions having gone off in the 23-22 defeat to the Highlanders after sustaining a head knock.