O’Connell blow rocks Lions

Graham Rowntree has admitted Paul O’Connell’s Lions KO is a “massive loss” for the tourists in their bid to secure a series win over the Wallabies (Lions 1/6, Australia 4/1 – Series Winner).

O’Connell fractured his arm in Saturday’s first-Test victory in Brisbane and has now been ruled out of the rest of the Series.

The Irishman’s injury is the latest setback for the Lions but they proved they have sufficient strength in depth by narrowly claiming an opening win and must now do withouth the influential O’Connell as they seek a aeries-clinching win this weeekend (Australia 11/8, Lions 8/15, draw 20/1 – Second Test odds).

England lock Geoff Parling is thought to be the man the Lions will now turn to in the Test side after he was pulled from the squad to play Melbourne Rebels in the next warm-up game on Tuesday.

Lions forward coach Rowntree admitted O’Connell’s injury is a huge blow.

He said: “It’s a massive loss. He is big influence on group and playing exceptionally well. But we have to get on with these things.”

Meanwhile, prop Alex Corbisiero is also struggling with injury ahead of Saturday’s second Test after he picked up a calf injury in the 23-21 win, and his condition is being monitored closely.

“We will know more in another 24-48 hrs,” Rowntree said on Corbisiero. “He stepped up very well. It would be a big blow but another test of strength in depth.”

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