Lions captain Warburton ruled out of Cardiff's Champions Cup playoff

Lions captain Sam Warburton is in a race against time to be fit for the first Test against the All Blacks. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

British & Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton will not return for Cardiff Blues Champions Cup playoff semifinal with Stade Francais Paris on Friday.

Warburton has not played since he suffered a knee injury during Cardiff's 24-24 draw at Ulster on April 7th.

Blues head coach Danny Wilson confirmed the former Wales captain won't return to action at the Stade Jean Bouin.

"Sam is progressing very well and, hopefully, he will be back fit very soon. If he is back fit and available for selection then great," Wilson said. "It's hard to look past Friday night -- once we know the result we can plan for the next week. From Sam's point of view it is a case of taking it day by day.

"We know he is not available this week, but there is definitely a chance for next week, although how big a chance that is I don't know. As it stands at the moment, we have more games to play, like other teams, and if we win on Friday we hope he will be available for selection next week if fit."

In victory, Cardiff would face either Northampton Saints or fellow Guinness PRO12 side Connacht away from home in the playoff final for a place in next year's Champions Cup, which the Blues had as a goal.

"It has been a long season and e said at the start that we wanted to qualify for the Champions Cup. The idea was to finish in the top six, but now we've got a one-off game in Paris against Stade Francais to keep our chances alive," Wilson added.

"We are excited by the opportunity and we want to finish the season on a high. Our form is pretty god at the moment with four wins and a draw in our last five games, but we know we have a big challenge ahead of us.