The British & Irish Lions are on the verge of a serious front-row problem after being forced to summon a second replacement prop in two days. Wales’s Gethin Jenkins has withdrawn from Saturday’s game against Queensland Reds with a calf problem, prompting an emergency call-up for Scotland’s Ryan Grant, while Ireland’s Cian Healy has been formally ruled out of the tour.
Healy’s departure was inevitable after he damaged ankle ligaments against Western Force on Wednesday but Jenkins was supposed to have recovered from the calf injury that sidelined him for the opening two games. Ominously he has dropped out of the starting XV to face the Reds and England’s Mako Vunipola will now start the game instead. “Gethin has trained all week but he felt some tightness in his calf today so it’s right not to play him,” said the head coach, Warren Gatland. “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.”
Healy and Jenkins were regarded as potential key men in the Test series against the Wallabies that kicks off on 22 June.
Healy, meanwhile, has hit out at the tour citing process after being cleared of biting the Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan. A judicial hearing found there was insufficient video evidence to uphold Sheehan’s complaint that he had been bitten on the arm and also found it impossible to distinguish a discernible bite mark from the “regular” scratches and abrasions that are common in rugby.
Healy acknowledged he was “very relieved” but could not hide his dismay at being cited.