IT has been officially confirmed this morning that Paul O’Connell is out of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia. Paul O’Connell’s tour ending injury – confirmed by a specialist in Brisbane this morning as an undisplaced fracture of his lower right arm, sees the Limerick man miss the last two tests of the 2013 series. O’Connell had been the Lions’ best player on tour so far and his loss will prove massive to Warren Gatland’s men. No decision has been made on whether O’Connell will leave or stay with the squad.
In other Lions news, DAN LYDIATE will captain the British & Irish Lions against the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Dragons flanker Lydiate will lead the team instead of Geoff Parling, who has been withdrawn from the starting line-up following Paul O’Connell’s tour ending injury.
Ospreys second row Ian Evans will start against the Rebels in place of Parling, while Ireland and Ulster prop Tom Court has been drafted onto the replacements’ bench for Makovina Vunipola, who is being rested as cover for the 2nd Test due to Alex Corbisiero’s calf injury. Tom Croft comes on to the bench for Evans.
British & Irish Lions (v RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels, June 25)
15. Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland)
14. Sean Maitland (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
13. Manusamoa Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers/England)
12. Brad Barritt (Saracens/England)
11. Simon Zebo (Munster/Ireland)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
9. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
1. Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
2. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
3. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
4. Richie Gray (Scotland))
5. Ian Evans (Ospreys/Wales)
6. Dan Lydiate (Dragons/Wales, capt)
7. Sean O’Brien (Leinster/Ireland)
8. Tangaki Taulupe Faletau (Dragons/Wales)
16. Rory Best (Ulster/Ireland)
17. Tom Court (Ulster/Ireland)
18. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
19. Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England)
20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
21. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
22. Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby/England)
23. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)