Lions have prospect of calling up three new players as the England star was knocked out in a sickening blow
Lions boss Warren Gatland may have to call up three new players in the next 24 hours.
The tourists’ 28-10 victory over Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon was overshadowed by the loss of their captain Alun Wyn Jones, who suffered a dislocated shoulder.
And there are also concerns over Justin Tipuric, who suffered a sting during the match and will be sent for scans.
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Away from Murrayfield, however, there is now a third injury issue.
Around the hour mark in a dramatic Gallagher Premiership final between the Harlequins and Exeter, hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie received a hard blow to the head in a tackle.
He appeared to be knocked out on the Twickenham turf and medics were very concerned for his welfare as the match was put on hold for several minutes.
A stretcher was called into the field as his condition was assessed, but it was not necessary and he was able to leave under his own esteem and was replaced permanently.
He was, however, present to accept his finalist medal at the end of the match, following a dramatic 40-38 Quins victory.
The hit, however, will likely leave him unavailable for at least the Lions’ tour opener against the Emirates Lions next Saturday.
Cowan-Dickie will also have to go through strict return-to-play protocols and will not be able to move on to full training until he has passed a series of tests.
Given the short duration of the tour, Gatland may feel like he needs a fit fourth hooker on the trip to take the load off Ken Owens and Jamie George.
Irish hooker Ronan Kelleher is reportedly leading the way, having trained with the Lions during the two-week training camp in Jersey, in the absence of George and Cowan-Dickie.
The only defeat confirmed so far, however, is that of Jones, who will return to Wales instead of flying to South Africa tomorrow.
Gatland has yet to name Jones’ replacement, but will have to make that call in the next few hours.
“He dislocated his shoulder,” Gatland said. “It came back easily, but the prognosis that he’ll be in good shape is very, very, best-case scenario is that he could be for the first test.
“He’s going to have a scan. We’ve just discussed and it looks like we’ll have to replace him.”
When asked if that meant Jones’s tour was over, Gatland replied: “Yes. That’s right. It’s very disappointing news. He’s been in rugby for quite a long time and he’s going to be gutted. .
“It’s very disappointing for him. It’s one of those things, you have to leave behind and move on as fast as possible.”
Although Tipuric needed scans on his shoulder, Gatland took a slightly more optimistic tone as he assessed the condition of the openside.
“He had a puncture in his shoulder,” said Gatland of Tipuric.
“We’re just going to check the scan to make sure there isn’t any nerve damage. That might rule him out, but at the moment we’re pretty confident he’ll be fine. We’ll have to wait for that.”
The Lions will travel to South Africa tomorrow night and any summons will likely be announced before the team leaves.