Lions coach Rowntree confirms Geoff Parling starts second Test

Last Updated: 24/06/13 11:10am

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Geoff Parling: Will start the second Test

Geoff Parling: Will start the second Test

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British and Irish Lions coach Graham Rowntree has confirmed lock Geoff Parling will start the second Test against Australia in place of the injured Paul O'Connell.

Veteran Ireland star O'Connell suffered a fractured arm during the 23-21 series-opening victory in Brisbane on Saturday and has since been told by team doctors that his tour is over.

England's Parling was due to captain the tourists in Tuesday's clash with the Melbourne Rebels but has been stood down so he can prepare for Saturday's rematch with the Wallabies at Etihad Stadium.

Rowntree said: "Geoff has been doing very well coming off the bench and he took his chance when he started as well. We've got good cover there so it's a chance for him."

On O'Connell, the former England prop added: "He's a big influence on the group and was playing exceptionally well. You've got to get on with these things - that's why we brought so many players.

Role

"Whether he'll stay or not, I don't know. I'd like him too because of his influence around the group. We'll find out in the next few days what he's going to do."

Sky Sports pundit Stuart Barnes feels confident O'Connell will stay on to help motivate the side.

He said: "It's a three-man leadership team as I see it - O'Connell in the tight five, Sam Warburton as captain and Brian O'Driscoll. To lose one is a big blow but I wouldn't be surprised if he decides to stay.

"Even though he can do no more on the field of play, in training, in motivation and in just being Paul O'Connell, he still has a role to play in the Lions' bid for glory."

Meanwhile, eyebrows were raised earlier on Monday when a citing commissioner cleared Australia captain James Horwill of stamping on Alun-Wyn Jones during a brutal first Test - but Rowntree refused to comment.

When quizzed on the decision, he said: "It's happened. We move on. I've got enough to worry about in terms of looking forward to this week's Test, changing personnel and the game tomorrow night. We'll just accept that decision and get on with it."

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