England lock George Kruis still has a chance to gain selection for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand despite missing most of the season through injury, according to his boss at Saracens.
The second row missed the whole of England's successful Six Nations title defence with a knee problem and Saracens, the English and European champions, don't expect him back in action until their April 16 clash against Northampton in the Premiership.
That match takes place just three days before Lions coach Warren Gatland is due to name his squad for the three-Test series against world champions New Zealand.
But Saracens boss Mark McCall thinks Kruis's proven line-out skills could yet see him book a tour spot if he can re-assure Gatland over his fitness.
Should that be the case, the Lions could yet benefit from having a set-piece expert who would be mentally and physically fresh, in possible contrast to those who'd been through the rigours of a full season, ahead of a gruelling series against the All Blacks.
"George could be back towards the end of April, that's the best guess, but it could be sooner than that," Saracens coach Mark McCall said on Tuesday ahead of the London club's European Champions Cup quarter-final at home to Glasgow this weekend.
"I think George has a chance of making the Lions tour because he's a line-out caller and is probably the best line-out caller around.
"That's a real string to his bow. He's also a great player, so I think he's got a chance."