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Wales hooker Richard Hibbard expected to miss tour of South Africa

Last Updated: 21/03/14 3:56pm

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Richard Hibbard: Likely to have played his last game for Ospreys

Richard Hibbard: Likely to have played his last game for Ospreys

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Wales hooker Richard Hibbard is unlikely to be available for the summer tour of South Africa after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The 30-year-old is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season, and it appears he has played his last game for the Ospreys.

Hibbard, who has agreed a deal to join Gloucester in the summer, was forced to go under the knife after struggling with a shoulder problem for much of the season.

The Ospreys confirmed he is "unlikely" to play again this term, and he faces a race against time to regain fitness ahead of the two Tests against the Springboks in Durban on June 14 and Nelspruit seven days later.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is already without Hibbard's British and Irish Lions team-mates Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny for the tour.

Full-back Halfpenny dislocated his shoulder in the Six Nations defeat to England, and Wales captain Warburton suffered the same problem in the final game of the competition against Scotland.

Ken Owens replaced Hibbard in the win over the Scots, and he looks a firm favourite to retain the role against South Africa with Scarlets colleague Emyr Phillips providing back-up from the bench.

Ospreys medical performance manager Chris Towers said: "Richard has an ongoing shoulder problem that has been troubling him, and after returning to the region this week he feels unable to continue playing.

"It is in his best interests to get this issue resolved, and he will undergo surgery on Friday.

"The expected minimum recovery time for such a procedure means it is unlikely he will play again between now and the end of the season."

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