2013 British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has revealed that players who will be involved in the French Top 14 play offs are unlikely to tour with the Lions.
Gatland's revelation is a major blow for England players such as Jonny Wilkinson and Delon Armitage who both play for the Top14 leading Toulon. Wales Grand Slam winner Gethin Jenkins also plays for Toulon.
The French Top 14 final takes place on the same day that the Lions play the Barbarians in Hong Kong and it is highly likely that Toulon will be involved in the French Top14 play offs in some form.
Wilkinson had been tipped to tour with the Lions while his Toulon team mates Andrew Sheridan and brothers Steffon and Delon Armitage have been linked to the tour.
Gatland has insisted that he does not want players to join the British and Irish Lions tour later than the rest of the players.
"We would really want all the party to travel out together as one," Gatland told The Telegraph.
"We are not really thinking outside the box for anyone at the moment."
Gatland is expected to name his Lions squad next month and appears to have settled on most of his players as he confirmed that Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland would all be represented.
"I have carte blanche to pick who I like but you don't want to go on a Lions tour without players from each country. "
"We would all feel a bit uncomfortable with that," he added.