Saturday 21 April 2018

Six Nations Player of the Year Hogg ruled out of Lions tour with fractured cheekbone after Murray collision

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 10: Stuart Hogg of the Lions receives medical help during the match between the Crusaders and the British & Irish Lions at AMI Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 10: Stuart Hogg of the Lions receives medical help during the match between the Crusaders and the British & Irish Lions at AMI Stadium on June 10, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Nick Purewal

Stuart Hogg will miss the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour due to the cheek injury he suffered in the 12-3 win over the Crusaders.

The Lions have announced full-back Hogg will return home to Scotland for further treatment on a "facial bone fracture".

Hogg collided unwittingly with Conor Murray's elbow as the Ireland scrum-half sought to let the Glasgow star launch a counter-attack in the first half of the Crusaders clash.

The Lions have not called up a replacement at this stage, and defence coach Andy Farrell yesterday suggested the tourists already have enough options to offset Hogg's absence.

"It is hugely disappointing for Stuart to have to return home early and for us to lose one of our touring party," said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

"Stuart has been a key member of our squad on and off the field and it is disappointing to see injury cut short his time with us in New Zealand.

"We all wish him the best with his recovery and we look forward to seeing him back in action in the future."

Hogg would have been one of the main backline talents boss Gatland could have expected to deliver the X-factor attacking play he has been seeking in New Zealand.

Ireland's versatile backline operator Jared Payne will wear the 15 shirt against the Highlanders on Tuesday, while Leigh Halfpenny ought to be favourite to start at full-back for the Test series.

England's Elliot Daly and Wales' Liam Williams can also operate at full-back, while speed king Anthony Watson showed up well in the role against the Crusaders after Hogg's injury.

Hogg offered a good luck message to the Lions squad as he prepared to fly home.

"I'm gutted to be leaving the Tour at this stage," said Hogg.

"It is an honour to have been involved in a second British and Irish Lions tour and I have hugely enjoyed my time with the squad and I'm very excited about the potential of this group.

"I'm disappointed to be leaving in this way but wish all the squad the best in the coming weeks and will be cheering them on from home."

Lions defence coach Farrell insisted on Monday that the tourists had picked a 41-man group for the tour with one eye on the unforgiving nature of top-level rugby.

"We've got a big squad and a lot of people in place to cover different positions," said Farrell on Monday.

"We picked a bigger squad this time round than we did for the last tour, simply because of the schedule - not just the games but the travel time and the amount of time we're going to have on the training field together.

"We're through a few of those games now, and obviously after Tuesday night it will be one less."

Press Association

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