Injuries down to bad luck and intensity of games – Rowntree
LIONS forwards coach Graham Rowntree insisted that the spate of injuries suffered by the tourists has simply been a combination of bad luck and tough matches.
Paul O'Connell has become the latest in a long list of players who have suffered injury on the tour. Some have been minor scrapes, but others, as in O'Connell's and Cian Healy's cases, have been tour-ending.
"It's a reflection of the intensity of the games," said Rowntree.
"It's the end of a long season and we've trained well. We've looked after them in terms of training time and we're very mindful of training volumes.
"I can only attribute the injuries to the intensity of the opposition."
Rowntree's insistence about the probable nature of the injuries does not explain why there are so many non-contact injuries being suffered on this tour.
Of the 12 players that we know have suffered some injury or other, four have been hamstring strains of some degree, one a calf muscle injury, one a groin strain, one a knee problem and only three actual contact injuries.
Why are the Lions suffering from so many muscle injuries? It must surely lead to questioning of whether or not it is in players' interests to play one of the most physical field sports all year round, as this group are now doing.
Cian Healy: Damaged ankle ligaments against Western Force. He didn't last the full half and was on his way home after being cleared of a bogus citing charge.
Gethin Jenkins: Injured his calf muscle and joined Healy on the long flight home.
Paul O'Connell: Fractured a bone in his right forearm during Saturday's first Test. He was hit in a ruck and rolled away in agony. A game and series changer.
INJURIES COME GOOD
Rob Kearney: Arrived in Hong Kong with a hamstring injury that did the rounds from being "tightness" to a potential "lower back problem" to a graded tear. He is fit.
George North: Injured his hamstring and was a huge doubt for the first Test. Management took a chance and he came through.
Jonathan Sexton: Strained his hamstring but made a comeback for the Waratahs game and the first Test.
Brian O'Driscoll: It was never officially diagnosed. He strained "something" doing the splits. Not an issue.
Owen Farrell: Suffered a dead leg in the Waratahs game. Not an issue.
Sam Warburton: Arrived in Hong Kong with a knee injury. However, he has come good and played in the first Test.
Manu Tuilagi: Suffered a shoulder stinger in the game against Queensland Reds. Was worried his tour was over but plays this morning.
Tommy Bowe: Broke a bone in his hand when his finger was caught in the jersey of a Queensland Reds player. Wore a protective glove in training, will feature on Saturday.
Jamie Roberts: Tore his hamstring and we are still in the dark as regards his progress.
Shane Williams: Strained a groin during his cameo on tour.
Alex Corbisiero: Has a calf strain and is a doubt for Saturday.
Alex Corbisiero: Replaced Cian Healy after Leinster man's injury against Western Force.
Ryan Grant: Called in as cover and replaced Gethin Jenkins.
Tom Court: Called in as cover.
Shane Williams: Called in temporarily as cover.
Simon Zebo: Called in as cover.
Christian Wade: Called in as cover.
Brad Barritt: Called in as cover.
Billy Twelvetrees: Called in as cover.