Paul O'Connell braced for departure of Tommy Bowe from Lions tour
Last Updated: 08/06/13 11:09pm
Tommy Bowe (left) nurses his suspected broken hand
Paul O'Connell admits the news that Tommy Bowe is set to miss the rest of the Lions tour is a major blow for the squad.
The Ireland wing broke his hand during the Lions' 22-12 victory over Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.
Props Cian Healy (ankle ligaments) and Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) are flying home on Sunday, but the Lions are now set to lose Bowe, who missed much of last season through injury, too.
And veteran lock O'Connell says they will miss Bowe's huge experience if - as expected - he is forced to go home.
"It doesn't look good, and after him working so hard to get back from an injury he's fairly disappointed," Bowe's Ireland and Lions team-mate O'Connell said.
"It doesn't look good at the moment. It's hard to fully say, but I don't think they are too confident at this stage. Unfortunately, it's another Irish guy down
"The guys that get injured, they are very disappointed, obviously, but you've just got to get on with it.
"They (Lions) move on fairly quickly, they start planning what they've got to do to get it right, and the squad has to move on as well. You are disappointed for them, but the squad has to move on.
"It's disappointing for the guys, especially a guy of Tommy's experience. Certainly in the backs, while we have experience we have a lot of young guys as well, and it was good to have a winger of his kind of experience there.
"You have got to be positive about it, and they had spoken early on (saying) that this was going to happen - guys were going to be brought over, guys were going to get plenty of chances, so you've just got to deal with it and get on with it."
O'Connell said the stern test the Reds gave them was just what the squad needed.
"They were tough conditions as well, which was a bit of a reality check of how hard it's going to be," he said.
"I think we are in good shape. You would rather not have these injuries, but they were always going to happen.
"We were delighted to get through the Barbarians game with no injuries, but the few that have come this week with Cian, Gethin and Tommy, it isn't ideal, but we've just got to deal with it and get on with it.
"You are reviewing training and we are three games in now and we have three games to review, three different types of games as well, so there will be a lot of learning from that and hopefully we will improve a lot from here."