Halfpenny’s bad news

Lions wing Leigh Halfpenny will miss the start of the Lions tour due to a thigh injury.

Halfpenny, the youngest Lion in the tour group, will travel back to Cardiff where he will receive treatment, while a replacement will be announced at a later date. Once the Wales winger is fully fit – his recovery is expected to take at least 10 to 14 days – he will rejoin the party.

‘It is the belief of the Lions management team that it would be better for the player to receive intensive treatment in Cardiff,’ read a Lions statement.

‘The management have always had the expectation that travelling players should be fit to play the first game on tour [against a Royal XV on 30 May in Rustenburg].’

Centre Tom Shanklin’s tour-ending dislocated shoulder didn’t require a substitute, but now coach Ian McGeechan has opted to call on an extra back, with England No 15 Delon Armitage the favourite.

Tomas O’Leary was the first casualty, replaced by scrumhalf Mike Blair, while flank Alan Quinlan awaits the outcome of his appeal against a guilty verdict for eye gouging. A decision is expected later on Wednesday.