Rory Best is set to be called up for the Lions tour to South Africa after Jerry Flannery suffered injury heartbreak.
In the latest injury blow to the Lions, the combative Ireland hooker suffered a chipped bone in his left elbow during training yesterday afternoon.
However, set-piece specialist Best, who has markedly improved his all-round game in recent seasons, is now poised to join the party.
Many experts thought the Ulster captain was unfortunate to be excluded from the original line-up but the Munster hooker’s injury has put him on the road to South Africa.
Ross Ford of Scotland is also on the standby list for the position but Lions coach Ian McGeechan should turn to Best who is just behind Flannery in Ireland's pecking order. The Ravenhill favourite is currently leading Ireland's tour to Canada and the United States and had been included in the starting line-up for Saturday's Test against the Canucks.
There was further bad news for a Munster competitor last night when flanker Alan Quinlan failed to overturn his 12-week ban for making illegal contact with the eye of Leo Cullen.
Quinlan exercised his right to appeal but an independent appeal committee found no reason to alter the original verdict or punishment.