Huge blow for Lions as O'Connell is ruled out

IAN RANSOM
Last updated 15:28 24/06/2013
Paul O'Connell
DAVID ROGERS/Getty Images
THREE-TIME TOURIST: Lions and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell feels the Hong Kong heat during the touring side's clash with the Barbarians.

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The British and Irish Lions have suffered a major blow ahead of the second test against Australia, with lock Paul O'Connell ruled out of the rest of the series against Australia due to a fracture in his right forearm.

The 33-year-old Irishman, who captained the Lions on their last tour to South Africa in 2009, sustained the injury in the tourists' 23-21 victory in the first test in Brisbane on Saturday.

"Paul O'Connell ruled out of test series with undisplaced fracture of lower right arm," read a tweet on the Lions feed (lionsofficial) on Monday.

The injury will be a particular blow to the Munster man, who came through a long period on the sidelines with a back injury before returning to action in April to secure his place on a third Lions tour.

Lions coach Warren Gatland partnered O'Connell with Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones as his starting combination at Lang Park and will have to consider one of Geoff Parling, Ian Evans or Richie Gray to replace the Irishman for Saturday's second test in Melbourne.

England lock Parling was named captain of the Lions for Tuesday's tour match against the Melbourne Rebels, and will start with Welshman Evans, leaving little time to rest before the test at Docklands Stadium.

Towering Scot Gray has been named on the bench for the tour match at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

The injury capped a quick turnaround in the fortunes for both sides, with Australia captain and lock James Horwill cleared to play in the second test late on Sunday after a disciplinary hearing dismissed a charge of trampling on Lions lock Wyn Jones.

Wyn Jones required stitches in his eye and Gatland referred to the incident after the match.

The Lions also have an injury query over prop Alex Corbisiero and called up Ireland's Tom Court as cover for the Englishman, who sustained a calf injury in the first test 

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