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Justin Tipuric adds to Wales' mounting injury problems for New Zealand tour

Flanker Justin Tipuric will miss Wales' tour to New Zealand this summer after suffering concussion during the RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy last month.

Tipuric's Ospreys and Wales colleague Paul James could also be sidelined for the three-Test trip, as he faces a lay-off of six to 10 weeks following recent eye surgery.

Cardiff Blues wing Alex Cuthbert had already been ruled out of the June tour while he recovers from a knee operation.

And it has emerged that Toulon full-back Leigh Halfpenny might be a major doubt after a report in France on Monday suggested he has suffered a setback in his recovery from long-term knee trouble.

The Ospreys said that 26-year-old Tipuric would undergo "a prolonged three-month period of recovery."

He went off early during the Italy match, which Wales won 67-17 and secured a second-placed Six Nations finish behind Grand Slam champions England.

Ospreys medical performance manager Chris Towers said: "Justin is recovering well following the concussion suffered playing for Wales against Italy three weeks ago.

"But in the light of his symptoms, the specialist advice is that it is in his best interests to take his time returning.

"A prolonged three-month period of recovery rules him out of the rest of the season for the Ospreys and the Wales tour to New Zealand.

"The focus for Justin will be on getting healthy and fit, ready for pre-season."

Tipuric, who has won 43 caps and featured on the 2013 British and Irish Lions' tour of Australia, has proved a valuable member of Wales head coach Warren Gatland's squad, whether starting, or filling a more frequent role of providing quality back-up for Wales skipper and regular number seven Sam Warburton.

Regarding prop James, meanwhile, Towers added: "Following eye surgery, Paul is scheduled for a review with the specialist at the end of this week to get a fuller picture of the recovery process.

"However, we know that he is likely to be out of rugby for a period of six to 10 weeks."

Halfpenny is understood to have suffered a setback in his recovery from an injury that ruled him out of this season's World Cup.

The 27-year-old has not played since he was carried off after suffering knee ligament damage during Wales' final World Cup warm-up game against Italy in Cardiff last September.

It had been thought that Halfpenny was on course for a comeback with his club Toulon this month, and might even have featured against Top 14 opponents Pau next weekend.

But a French newspaper report on Monday claimed that Halfpenny will not play again this term.

If that proves to be the case, then it appears unlikely that he will be involved in Wales' New Zealand tour, which features appointments with the world champion All Blacks in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin, starting on June 11.

Toulon have so far not commented on the latest Halfpenny injury report.


From Belfast Telegraph