Belfast Telegraph

Cian Healy forced out of Lions tour through ankle injury

Cian Healy has been forced to pull out of the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia due to an ankle ligament injury.

The Irishman suffered the problem during Wednesday's tour match against Western Force in Perth, with scans revealing significant ligament damage around the ankle.

An official Lions press release said that the recovery time was expected to exceed the duration of the tour, and the news comes just hours after he was cleared of biting Brett Sheehan during the Force game.

Welsh prop Gethin Jenkins has also been ruled out of tomorrow's match against the Queensland Reds due to a calf injury, with Scotland's Ryan Grant called into the squad as cover.

Mako Vunipola will replace Jenkins in the Lions line-up against the Reds.

On Healy's injury, head coach Warren Gatland said: "Firstly, our thoughts are with Cian.

"It has been a day of mixed emotions for him after being quite rightly being cleared of foul play but then the scan revealing the extent of the damage to his ankle. He has made a big contribution on and off the field in the last two weeks and we wish him well in his recovery."

Grant has been called up from Scotland's tour of South Africa, while the promotion of Saracens loosehead prop Vunipola to the starting line-up in place of Jenkins means England's Dan Cole moves onto the replacements bench.

Gatland added: "Gethin has trained all week but he felt some tightness in his calf today so it's right not to play him. We will assess him over the next 24 to 48 hours but Mako has done well in the last two games and this is another chance for him to step up.

"Given Cian's injury we have decided to bring Ryan in. He has played well in the RaboDirect PRO12 this season and for Scotland in the RBS 6 Nations and we look forward to him and Alex Corbisiero arriving tomorrow."

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