O'Connell out of Lions tour

June 24, 2013
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Lock Paul O'Connell will miss the rest of the British & Irish Lions tour of Australia after fracturing his arm in Saturday's first Test in Brisbane.

The loss of the 33-year-old is bad news for Lions coach Warren Gatland given the way the Irish forward had fought his way back from a serious back injury to be one of the stars of the tour Down Under.

O'Connell, who captained the Lions on their tour of South Africa in 2009, picked up the injury in Saturday's 23-21 win over the Wallabies and scans have now revealed the extent of the problem.

A Lions statement read: "Paul O'Connell has been ruled out of the remaining two games of the series after suffering a fractured arm."

The injury to O'Connell has resulted in England's Geoff Parling being removed from the midweek team to face the Melbourne Rebels in order to keep him fresh for the second Test on Saturday.

Parling was set to captain the Lions on Tuesday against the Rebels but will instead now being preparing to line-up alongside Alun Wyn Jones in the second row.

Ian Evans will start against the Rebels in Parling's absence, while Dan Lydiate will skipper the side.

The injury to O'Connell deepens Gatland's fitness concerns, with the Lions also monitoring the fitness of prop Alex Corbisiero, who has a calf problem.

Gatland has called Ireland's Tom Court into the squad as cover for Corbisiero, while Mako Vunipola has been removed from Tuesday's game against the Rebels in anticipation of starting the second Test.

The Lions are 1.05 to beat the Rebels, while the Super 15 outfit are 10.00 to be the second domestic team to defeat the tourists after the Brumbies' win last week.

There is better injury news for the Lions in the back division with centres Manu Tuilagi and Jamie Roberts in contention for the second Test.

Roberts, who had been due to start the first Test, is winning his battle to overcome a hamstring problem, while Tuilagi has recovered from his shoulder injury.

The recovery of the two centres comes on the back of wing Tommy Bowe being given the all clear after his hand injury.

The Lions are 1.53 to win the second Test in Melbourne, with Australia 2.50 in the match result market.

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