THE British and Irish Lions have suffered a major blow ahead of the second test against Australia, with Ireland's Paul O'Connell ruled out of the rest of the series against Australia due to a fracture in his right forearm.
The 33-year-old lock, who captained the Lions on their last tour to South Africa in 2009, sustained the injury in the tourists' 23-21 victory in the first test in Brisbane on Saturday.
"Paul O'Connell ruled out of test series with undisplaced fracture of lower right arm," read a tweet on the Lions feed (@lionsofficial) today.
The injury will be a particular blow to the Munster man, who came through a long period on the sidelines with a back injury before returning to action in April to secure his place on a third Lions tour. Geoff Parling is set to replace O'Connell for the second test, with Lions coach Warren Gatland signalling his intention by withdrawing the England lock from tomorrow's tour match against the Melbourne Rebels.
O'Connell's injury capped a quick turnaround in the fortunes for both sides, with Australia captain and lock James Horwill cleared to play in the second test late on Sunday after a disciplinary hearing dismissed a charge of trampling on Lions lock Wyn Jones. Wyn Jones required stitches in his eye and Gatland referred to the incident after the match.
The Lions also have an concern over prop Alex Corbisiero and called up Ireland's Tom Court as cover for the Englishman, who sustained a calf injury in the first test.
Meanwhile, a warrant was today issued for the arrest of Australia international Digby Ioane just days before the crucial second test.
The winger, who played in the Wallabies opening test defeat by the Lions on Saturday, failed to appear at the Melbourne Magistrates Court to face an assault charge relating to an incident in March.
Ioane, who plays for the Queensland Reds Super Rugby team, was allegedly involved in a scuffle a day after the Brisbane-based side's win over the Melbourne Rebels on March 8.
Melbourne police did not charge the 35-times capped Ioane at the time but the player was dropped for the Reds next match and later charged on summons when he was in South Africa with his club.
Elsewhere, Lions coach Warren Gatland has blamed Kurtley Beale's choice of footwear for his failure to kick the Lions' first Test hopes into oblivion.
"If I was a coach looking at Kurtley Beale coming on, I would be looking at the boots he was wearing," Gatland said. "He came on wearing 'mouldies' and he slipped over taking that last kick. He slipped over on a couple of occasions. Why has he come out on the field wearing that sort of footwear in those sort of conditions?"