The British and Irish Lions suffered back-to-back blows on Wednesday, just four days before they embark on their South African mission when Irish duo Alan Quinlan and Jerry Flannery were ruled out.
Sport 24 reports that Munster flanker Quinlan failed in his appeal against a 12-week ban for eye-gouging while Ulster hooker Flannery injured his elbow in training.
Quinlan was last week found guilty of gouging following an incident involving Leinster’s Leo Cullen during Munster’s European Cup semi-final defeat at Croke Park in Dublin on May 2.
His appeal was dismissed with the panel upholding the original decision that Quinlan, 34, should not be allowed to play again until September 10.
Leicester flanker Tom Croft has been confirmed as Quinlan’s replacement.
Flannery chipped a bone in his left elbow during training on Wednesday afternoon and a scan revealed the extent of the damage. The player now requires surgery that will prevent him from departing for South Africa with the rest of the squad on Sunday.
The Lions management have yet to name a replacement but must choose between Ireland’s Rory Best and Ross Ford of Scotland, who are on the standby list.
Coach Ian McGeechan said: “We had to be fair and allow Alan Quinlan the opportunity to appeal his suspension.
“However, following the outcome of the appeal we have replaced Quinlan with Tom Croft who, it must be said, was very unlucky not to have been selected in the original tour party.
“Tom showed in his recent performances for Leicester following the tour party announcement that he could put aside his disappointment and perform at a very high level.
“His his continued good form has been rewarded with selection to the Lions squad.”
The Lions will also be without Cardiff and Wales wing Leigh Halfpenny for the first two weeks of the tour. Halfpenny will remain at home for treatment on a thigh injury which has proved more serious than first thought.
The Lions have already lost Welsh centre Tom Shanklin and Irish scrum-half Tomas O’Leary to injures.
Shanklin was not replaced but Mike Blair has been drafted into the squad in place of O’Leary.
The opening match of the Lions tour is on May 30, with the first Test against the world champions Springboks on June 20.Tweet