Exeter forward Sam Simmonds has dealt the British and Irish Lions an injury scare ahead of their South Africa tour.
The Chiefs No 8 went off during the second half of Exeter’s thrilling 29-26 Gallagher Premiership victory over 14-man Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.
He had ice applied to his ankle, while Simmonds’ fellow Lions squad member – Northampton and Wales fly-half Dan Biggar – also went off in the second half after taking a knock to his chest, although that was thought to be purely precautionary.
Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter said: “He (Simmonds) has had a rolled ankle from a few weeks ago which has been fine. I did not wait to see if he wanted to carry on.
“We were thinking of making a back-row substitution anyway.
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“There will be an assessment over the next couple of hours. We didn’t take him off because it was a clear ‘that’s it, he’s done’. I thought let’s get on with things and keep the momentum in the game.
“Right here and now I don’t want to make a call on how bad it is. It could be very minor.
“It is one of those things. We will take everything into account, and if the right thing medically is for him not to play against Sale (next Saturday), then he won’t.
“People are either fit or they are not. Sam likes playing. He does not think rest suits him but if his ankle isn’t right, it isn’t right.
“He won’t want to be cotton wool-wrapped for the Lions, and we don’t know the extent of the injury at all.”
The Lions face Japan at Murrayfield on June 26 before heading to South Africa for an eight-match trip highlighted by three Tests against the reigning world champions.
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