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Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:08 UK

Injured Byrne out of Lions tour

Full-back Lee Byrne scored two tries for the Lions in South Africa
Full-back Lee Byrne scored two tries for the Lions in South Africa

Lee Byrne has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions' last two Tests against South Africa because of injury.

The Wales full-back limped out of the first Test 26-21 loss in Durban with a recurrence of a previous foot problem, but then hurt his hand in training.

A scan on Wednesday revealed damage to Byrne's left thumb and it is that injury that has ended his tour early.

"To be ruled out of the tour at this stage with just two matches left is devastating," Byrne said.

"I am very disappointed that I got injured in training and that my tour is over.

"I was recovering from my foot injury and was taking part in training when I hurt my thumb in a freak accident.

"Returning home immediately is the right thing to do as it means I can get the right medical treatment straight away. I wish the boys all the best for the rest of the tour."

Ireland's Rob Kearney replaced Byrne just before half-time of the first Test in Durban and has kept the 15 shirt for Saturday's second Test in Pretoria.

606: DEBATE

Byrne, who plays his domestic rugby for Welsh regional side the Ospreys, made four starts on the 10-match trip - against South Africa, the Royal XV, Cheetahs and Sharks - scoring two tries.

He has become the fifth player forced to leave the tour following his Wales team-mates Leigh Halfpenny and Ryan Jones - who was only in South Africa for 24 hours before injury struck - Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris and Scotland prop Euan Murray.

They also lost injured trio Tomas O'Leary, Tom Shanklin, Jerry Flannery and the suspended Alan Quinlan from the original squad before leaving for South Africa.



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