Saturday, September 25News That Matters

British and Irish Lions squad receive their first Covid jabs

The Lions squad received their first Covid vaccines on Wednesday in London as the tourists met for the first time before the South Africa tour.

The British & Irish touring party were given Government clearance to have their jabs early, like the British Olympians will before the Tokyo Games this summer.

The only member of Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad not present at the Lensbury Club gathering on Wednesday was Finn Russell, the Scotland fly-half who is based in Paris while playing for Racing 92.

Warren Gatland's Lions squad received their first Covid vaccines on Wednesday in London

Warren Gatland's Lions squad received their first Covid vaccines on Wednesday in London

Warren Gatland’s Lions squad received their first Covid vaccines on Wednesday in London

The British & Irish touring party were given Government clearance to have their jabs early

The British & Irish touring party were given Government clearance to have their jabs early

The British & Irish touring party were given Government clearance to have their jabs early

However it is understood he received his first vaccine in France last week – so will be covered like the rest of the squad.

The Lions do not yet have a set date for their second dose, but will likely receive it when in Jersey during their training camp which starts on June 13 in the run-up to playing their pre-tour Japan Test in Edinburgh on June 26.

Gatland – who himself was jabbed a few months ago – always intended to vaccinate the entire group of players and staff before travelling to South Africa, saying previously that it would be a ‘show of unity’ for the team that melds four nations.

In April the head coach said: ‘It would be a brilliant message if we were able to vaccinate all the touring party, the players and all the staff.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones and his team-mates are due to go to Jersey for a training camp

Captain Alun Wyn Jones and his team-mates are due to go to Jersey for a training camp

Captain Alun Wyn Jones and his team-mates are due to go to Jersey for a training camp

The Lions don't have a set date for their second dose, but will likely receive it when in Jersey

The Lions don't have a set date for their second dose, but will likely receive it when in Jersey

The Lions don’t have a set date for their second dose, but will likely receive it when in Jersey

As the youngest tourist, Louis Rees-Zammit will have to look after stuffed toy Lion mascot 'Bil'

As the youngest tourist, Louis Rees-Zammit will have to look after stuffed toy Lion mascot 'Bil'

As the youngest tourist, Louis Rees-Zammit will have to look after stuffed toy Lion mascot ‘Bil’

‘The Lions is about unity, bringing people together.

‘We’ve got to be conscious not to be seen getting special treatment but I think these are special times and circumstances.’

At the London gathering on Wednesday the Lions all received their mountains of kit – from suits to face-masks, underwear to playing gear – and had their head-shot photos taken for the trip.

And as per tradition the youngest tourist, 20-year-old Welsh wing Louis Rees-Zammit, was handed the stuffed toy Lion mascot ‘Bil’ who he will have to keep care of at all times throughout the trip.