Halfpenny ruled out of Lions tour - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Halfpenny ruled out of Lions tour

By Robert Millward 10/06/2009 08:30:51 PM Comments (0)

Leigh Halfpenny became the second British and Irish Lions player in two days to be ruled out of the rest of the tour through injury.

A day after Ireland backrower Stephen Ferris was sidelined with a knee injury, 20-year-old Welsh winger Halfpenny was told that a thigh muscle injury had flared up again. The same injury delayed his arrival on the tour.

"Leigh unfortunately hurt his right thigh muscle during Monday afternoon's training," Lions head coach Ian McGeechan said on Wednesday ahead of the team's fourth tour match against the Sharks.

Halfpenny, a fast winger who also is a good long-range kicker, was due to be on the bench for that game but has been replaced by countryman James Hook.

"Following a medical assessment, it was decided that he should undergo a scan to determine the extent of the injury," McGeechan said.

"He had the scan on Tuesday morning that confirmed a presence of a further muscle injury to his right thigh which will require three to four weeks of rehabilitation which means he will miss the rest of the tour."

McGeechan said Halfpenny, who had started only one Lions game and was the youngest player in the 38-man squad, would not be replaced. He would fly with the team to Cape Town on Thursday and then return home to continue treatment with his club, Cardiff Blues.

"I am especially disappointed for Leigh, as he has worked so hard to come back from the setback at the start of the tour, but he has proven his strength of character by the way that he is handling the news," McGeechan said. "We wish him a speedy recovery."

The latest injury blows came two days after the Lions coaching team said they were happy they had only one unfit player out of 38 after three matches.

That was Wales backrower Martyn Williams, who is receiving treatment for a shoulder problem.

Ferris, who scored tries in two games but was also sent to the sin bin in the narrow victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, was hurt during Lions training on Monday and a scan revealed he had torn a ligament in his right knee, sidelining him for up to six weeks.

He was replaced in the squad by Wales captain Ryan Jones, who played in the last two Tests of the 2005 tour of New Zealand after also joining as a replacement. He will arrive on Thursday.

McGeechan lost four of his original squad before the players flew out to South Africa May 24.

Halfback Tomas O'Leary, centre Tom Shanklin and hooker Jerry Flannery all picked up injuries while flanker Alan Quinlan was banned for 12 weeks after he was cited for foul play during a European Cup semi-final.

The Lions have won their first three games against a Royal XV (37-25), the Golden Lions (74-10) and the Cheetahs (26-24).

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