Bowe not ruled out of Lions tour
Ireland star Tommy Bowe underwent surgery in Brisbane on Sunday - but the British and Irish Lions have not ruled him out of their future tour plans Down Under.
While injured props Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins headed for home, Bowe had an operation to repair the broken hand he suffered during Saturday's victory over Queensland Reds. Simon Zebo is on his way from North America to provide injury cover, yet there is also a degree of optimism that Bowe could recover quickly and possibly be involved in the Test series against Australia.
"The surgeon who spoke to him said that if everything goes all right it could be just a couple of weeks. Once the plate is put in, the bones are fixed, basically," Lions head coach Warren Gatland said.
Bowe's blistering form suggests he would have been a shoo-in selection for the opening Test on June 22, but although that game now appears beyond him, the second Wallabies encounter a week later could conceivably feature on Gatland's selection radar.
The surgery was to stabilise a bone fracture in his hand, and the Lions say his condition will be assessed over the next few days.
Zebo, meanwhile, played for Ireland against the US Eagles in Houston on Saturday, helping them to a 15-12 win. He is due to arrive in Sydney on Tuesday.
"I am absolutely over the moon. It is the best news I could have dreamt of," Zebo, 23, said. "As a professional rugby player, the ultimate goal is to be a British and Irish Lion."
Fly-half Jonathan Sexton, meanwhile, has had a scan on his hamstring, but Gatland added: "There was no tear in the hamstring, it was just a little bit tight."
Neither Sexton nor his fellow number 10 Owen Farrell will be involved in Tuesday's game against a Combined Country XV at Newcastle's Hunter Stadium. Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg will start at fly-half, with Leigh Halfpenny and possibly Jonathan Davies providing bench cover.
Brian O'Driscoll, who resumes his much-heralded 2009 Lions midfield partnership with Jamie Roberts, captains a team that also sees prop Alex Corbisiero starting after arriving in Brisbane from England's Argentina tour. And Scotland loosehead Ryan Grant, the Lions' second front-row replacement following injuries to Healy and Jenkins, is on bench duty.