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Ankle Injury Ends Healy’s Lions Tour

Ankle Injury Ends Healy’s Lions Tour

The ankle injury Cian Healy sustained during Wednesday’s victory for the Lions over Western Force is a tour-ending one, with news filtering through that the Leinster and Ireland prop has ‘significant ligament damage’.

Friday began on a positive note for Cian Healy when he was cleared of ‘acts contrary to good sportsmanship’, following a two-and-a-half hour disciplinary hearing in Brisbane.

The Leinster and Ireland prop was cited for allegedly biting Western Force scrum half Brett Sheehan during Wednesday’s tour match in Perth, but judical officier, Nigel Hampton QC, found insufficient evidence to support the allegations and cleared him of the offence.

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Healy spoke of his relief in being free to play again, however there was a huge sense of disappointment when a subsequent scan on the Dubliner’s left ankle – he damaged it when being tackled by Western Force’s Angus Cottrell on Wednesday – confrmed that his maiden Lions tour is over.

Healy will return home on Sunday after a scan revealed significant ligament damage around the ankle. The recovery time is expected to exceed the duration of the tour.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland commented: “Our thoughts are with Cian. It has been a day of mixed emotions for him after being quite rightly being cleared of foul play but then the scan revealing the extent of the damage to his ankle.

“He has made a big contribution on and off the field in the last two weeks and we wish him well in his recovery.”

England’s Alex Corbisiero had been called up as precautionary cover before Healy’s hearing and scan. With Gethin Jenkins feeling tightness in his calf in training today, Ryan Grant of Scotland is also on his way to Australia.

Mako Vunipola will start for the Lions against Queensland Reds tomorrow, taking the starting loosehead place of Jenkins with Dan Cole added to the replacements bench.

Grant, who was on tour with Scotland in South Africa, will fly from Durban this evening and arrive in Brisbane tomorrow following the injuries to Jenkins and Healy.

“Gethin has trained all week but he felt some tightness in his calf today so it’s right not to play him,” explained Gatland.

“We will assess him over the next 24 to 48 hours, but Mako has done well in the last two games and this is another chance for him to step up.

“Given Cian’s injury we have decided to bring Ryan in. He has played well in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season and for Scotland in the Six Nations and we look forward to him and Alex Corbisiero arriving tomorrow.”

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS Team & Replacements (v Queensland Reds, 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Saturday, June 8, kick-off 7.40pm local time/10.40am Irish time):

15. Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors/Scotland)
14. Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
13. Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers/England)
12. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets/Wales)
11. Tommy Bowe (Ulster/Ireland)
10. Owen Farrell (Saracens/England)
9. Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
1. Mako Vunipola (Saracens/England)
2. Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers/England)
3. Matt Stevens (Saracens/England)
4. Richie Gray (Scotland)
5. Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers/England)
6. Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)
7. Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues/Wales)
8. Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)


16. Richard Hibbard (Ospreys/Wales)
17. Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers/England)
18. Adam Jones (Ospreys/Wales)
19. Paul O’Connell (Munster/Ireland)
20. Justin Tipuric (Ospreys/Wales)
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Ireland)
22. Jonathan Sexton (Leinster/Ireland)

23. George North (Scarlets/Wales)