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British and Irish Lions: Warren Gatland calls up Ireland prop Tom Court as cover

Last Updated: 23/06/13 2:14pm

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Court has been called in to provide the Lions with cover

Court has been called in to provide the Lions with cover

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Ulster and Ireland prop Tom Court has been called up by British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland as cover for Alex Corbisiero.

England star Corbisiero excelled in the scrum in Saturday's 23-21 first Test victory over Australia in Brisbane before suffering a calf injury and making way for Mako Vunipola.

The lingering doubt over his availability for Saturday's second Test in Melbourne has prompted Gatland to bring in 32-year-old Court, whose international team-mate Cian Healy is already ruled out by injury.

Another Irishman, lock Paul O'Connell, is also a fitness concern having injured his arm during a brutal series opener at Suncorp Stadium that saw three Wallabies carried from the field in neck braces.

With O'Connell a doubt, England giant Geoff Parling may deputise in the second Test at the weekend despite being named as captain for Tuesday's clash with Melbourne Rebels.

Better news for Gatland is the potential return of three key men in wing Tommy Bowe (hand) and centres Jamie Roberts (hamstring) and Manu Tuilagi (shoulder) - the latter of which will start against the Rebels.

Gatland said of the trio: "To have Tommy and Manu fit and back is a great compliment to the medical staff. Tommy is fit for Saturday, he's running, but the more time he has to heal the better.

"The surgeon said that that injury is normally a six to eight-week injury, so to be fit in three weeks is magnificent. It's important not to risk him on Tuesday.

"We don't think Jamie is too far away, he's up and running and is potentially available for next weekend."

The Wallabies have reacted to their growing casualty list by calling in three players to their squad, including veteran flanker George Smith.

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