Belfast Telegraph

Australian hopes of using Ioane against Lions arrested

By Conor George

Digby Ioane is not a fugitive from justice ... although he has been ruled out of the remaining two Tests!

An arrest warrant was issued for the Wallaby winger yesterday afternoon when he failed to turn up to his court hearing to answer to an assault charge dating back to March.

His non-appearance was explained as a "mis-communication" issue between the player and his personal management agents. Ioane claimed ignorance of the court date after the news broke that the warrant had been issued.

Officials from the ARU contacted the police in Victoria who advised against Ioane presenting himself to them as "the paperwork had not been handed down by the court" by close of business yesterday and nothing could be done.

Ioane was apparently totally ignorant about his date in court when the Wallaby management questioned him!

The winger will have to present himself to the court before the end of the week when a new trial date for his assault charge will be issued. The charge dates back to an incident in March after a Super 15 game between Ioane's Queensland Reds' side and the Melbourne Rebels.

Ioane, Pat McCabe and Berrick Barnes have all been ruled out of Saturday's second Test against the Lions. Ioane suffered damage to his right shoulder and surgery a possibility.

McCabe re-injured his neck in a similar location to an injury first sustained on last year's Spring Tour. He will be seeing specialists in Sydney while Barnes suffered concussion.

Christian Leali'fiano has been cleared to play for Australia in Saturday's second Test against the Lions despite lasting less than 60 seconds of Saturday's opening game.

The Australian centre suffered a confirmed concussion after being levelled by Jonathan Davies in a bone-crunching tackle. The Wallabies insist the centre's management has also followed the IRB guidelines governing concussion and that he has made good progress and is expected to be considered for selection for this weekend.

Outside centre Adam Ashley-Cooper, who underwent scans on his shoulder after the Test in Brisbane, is also improving with medical staff confident he will be available in time for the game following further rehabilitation of the injury.

Assistant coach Graham Rowntree has confirmed that Geoff Parling will take Paul O'Connell's place in the Test team on Saturday.

And O'Connell has been urged to stay with the Lions for the rest of the Tour in a non-playing advisory role by Rowntree and Irish colleague Sean O'Brien.

"I really hope Paul stays on," said O'Brien. "It's his call obviously and it depends on his frame of mind.

"Personally I think his presence is a huge boost to us. We know how good a player he is and how big a loss he is going to be. But off the field as well he is someone the younger fellas do look up to. You can confide in him and talk to him and he will be missed all round if he does go."

Rowntree added: "It won't be the same without Paul being on the training field.

"He's one of the best locks in the world and will be a huge loss."

Belfast Telegraph


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