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Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 12:57 UK

Lions will not replace Shanklin

Tom Shanklin
Shanklin dislocated his shoulder playing for Cardiff a fortnight ago

Injured Welsh centre Tom Shanklin will not be replaced in the British and Irish Lions squad for South Africa.

Shanklin dislocated a shoulder two weeks ago playing for Cardiff Blues and was ruled out of the six-week tour.

But the failure of Lions-heavy Munster and the Blues to reach next Saturday's Heineken Cup final has eased the pressure on the touring squad.

The news will be a disappointment for potential replacements Delon Armitage, Mike Tindall and Gordon D'Arcy.

But coach Ian McGeechan is keen to give as many of his 36-strong squad game-time when the tour starts from 30 May.

"When we selected the extra player back in April we were really trying to cover all our bases regarding the Heineken Cup final, where we could have been without 16 players," McGeechan told a news conference to mark the squad's first day together.

"As it's transpired, for the first two tour games we can cover the squad and really we want to give the opportunity and the responsibility to the players who are there to try to fill that role.

"Going back to 36 just gives us the chance to give players and combinations a bit more game time which is so important with so little time before the first test."

McGeechan has drafted in Scotland captain Mike Blair for Tomas O'Leary after the Ireland scrum-half broke his ankle, but is being forced to wait on a decision over Irish flanker Alan Quinlan, who looks sure to be ruled out after being banned for 12 weeks for eye-gouging.

606: DEBATE

Quinlan, something of a surprise inclusion, has lodged an appeal over his ban, with a hearing to take place by next Wednesday.

Leicester forward Tom Croft is expected to be named as Quinlan's Lions replacement, ahead of Welshman Ryan Jones, if the Munster flanker fails to overturn his ban.

Quinlan was found guilty last week of making contact with the eye area of an opposition player in the Heineken Cup semi-final match against Leinster but is to contest the decision.

The inclusion of Croft, who has been a key player in Leicester's pursuit of a domestic league and European cup double, will be a further blow to Jones.

The Wales captain had been expected to make McGeechan's original squad but poor performances in this year's Six Nations championship resulted in his exclusion.

On Saturday Croft picked up a Guinness Premiership final winner's medal when Leicester beat London Irish 10-9 and this weekend takes part in the Heineken Cup final against Leinster.

The Lions squad assemble in Surrey on Monday, six days before they fly out to South Africa.

The opening game of the 10-match tour is against a Royal XV in Rustenburg on 30 May, and there are three Test matches against world champions South Africa - in Durban (20 June), Pretoria (27 June) and Johannesburg (4 July).



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see also
Lions opening opposition revealed
18 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Blair replaces O'Leary for Lions
11 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Lion Jenkins wants no Blues rest
10 May 09 |  Cardiff Blues
Shanklin names Lions likely lads
09 May 09 |  Cardiff Blues
Shanklin ruled out of Lions tour
08 May 09 |  Cardiff Blues
Quinlan contests ban in Lions bid
15 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions omissions shock De Villiers
23 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Backs give Boks edge - Du Plessis
23 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
O'Connell handed Lions captaincy
21 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Telfer worried by low Lions count
21 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Boks surprised by O'Connell pick
21 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Ferris is among 14 Ireland Lions
21 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Ryan Jones suffers shock omission
21 Apr 09 |  Welsh
De Villiers named Springbok coach
09 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union


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