Shanklin out of Lions tour

Centre needs reconstructive shoulder surgery

Last Updated: 08/05/09 5:06pm

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Shanklin: Blues star

Shanklin: Blues star

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British and Irish Lions centre Tom Shanklin has been ruled out for 16 weeks with a shoulder injury, his club Cardiff Blues have revealed.

"I'm sure I can speak on behalf our the entire Blues family, indeed the entirety of Wales when I offer our sympathies to Tom following his devastating shoulder injury."
Robert Norster Quotes of the week

The 29-year-old back suffered the injury in the Blues' 26-12 Magners League victory over Newport Gwent Dragons at the Arms Park on Wednesday night.

He had an X-Ray immediately after the game and a further scan on Thursday morning revealed the need for reconstructive surgery on the joint.

With the Lions set to fly to South Africa in just 17 days' time, Shanklin will miss the entire tour.

Blues chief executive Robert Norster said: "I'm sure I can speak on behalf our the entire Blues family, indeed the entirety of Wales when I offer our sympathies to Tom following his devastating shoulder injury suffered last night that will prevent him travelling with the Lions to South Africa this summer.

"Tom and all our other Lions heading south have given their very best for the Blues and their country this year and such injuries hardly seem fitting or fair.

Frustration

"Suffice to say Tom picked up the injury whilst giving his all for our team and we are all feeling for him at this difficult time of disappointment and frustration."

Shanklin had been pencilled in for a possible place in the Lions Test side, when his physical presence would have been a potentially vital asset against the muscular Springboks.

His absence could now open the door for international team-mate Gavin Henson, although his chances are hampered by a lack of recent action.

Shanklin's heartbreak presents another major poser for Lions head coach Ian McGeechan, who has had his fair share of troubles since announcing a 37-man tour squad last month.

Decision

Munster and Ireland scrum-half Tomas O'Leary was ruled out of the 10-match trip just three days after being selected for it due to a broken ankle suffered on Magners League duty.

McGeechan and his coaching staff have yet to choose a replacement, although a decision is likely after this weekend's Guinness Premiership play-offs, with England's Danny Care among the leading candidates.

The first tour match against a Highveld XV in Rustenburg is on May 30.

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