June International Tours

Earls out, Halfpenny in for British and Irish Lions


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The British and Irish Lions had more good news than bad on the injury front on Sunday.


With the news that winger Leigh Halfpenny could be on his way to join them by mid-week and that loose-forwards Andy Powell and Stephen Ferris have recovered from minor injuries, there is however the injury to centre Keith Earls which will be worrying.


There are also a few other niggles, but they’re not expected to keep the players out of the match against the Golden Lions on Wednesday if they’re needed.

Mike Blair had an ankle strain, Riki Flutey had a strained right knee, captain Paul O’Connell had a poke in the eye and Ronan O’Gara a mild knock to the shoulder. Young Irish centre Keith Earls damaged his right shoulder in the first-half at Phokeng on Saturday.

He will be out of training for up to three days and will definitely miss the Golden Lions match. Earl will no doubt be keen to return to match action as soon as possible after an average first half against the Royal XV, although he was much better after the break.

– The good news is that the youngest Lion of them all, Halfpenny could be on his way to join the Lions by midweek if he comes through a final kicking session with Cardiff Blues.

There are reports that, if he can prove there are no after effects from one final kicking session this week, it is likely the Lions medical team will give Halfpenny the all-clear to join them in time for the third game in Bloemfontein.

The 20-year-old Halfpenny stayed behind to receive intensive physiotherapy at his club to remedy a troublesome thigh strain. He was ordered to work with the Blues medical team to try to fully overcome the problem that first ruled him out of his club’s Magners League clash with Munster prior to the tour.

“Although I haven’t seen Leigh since we were at Pennyhill Park he is doing very well by all accounts.

He did a very good kicking session on Friday and he had a day off on Saturday,” said Lions doctor James Robson on the official website.

“He is going to repeat his hard training session and also do some place kicking. I will be speaking to the Cardiff Blues doctor Geoff Davies about his reaction to the sessions.

“There will be further discussions but, if all goes well, we are looking to bring Leigh out in the middle of the week.”

– Halfpenny’s Blues team mate, No 8 Powell, is back in full training. He had to withdraw from the first tour match against the Royal XV because of a hand injury and was rested as a precaution.

Powell was back in the gym on Sunday and is expected to be fit to play if required against the Golden Lions at Coca Cola Park on Wednesday.

Irish loose forward Stephen Ferris, who also pulled out of Saturday’s opening game where he was selected on the bench, is fit for consideration for Wednesday against the Golden Lions. He had a calf niggle.


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