Lions in South Africa 2009

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British & Irish Lions
Byrne ruled out of Lions tour
June 25, 2009

British & Irish Lions fullback Lee Byrne has been ruled out of the remainder of the tour with an injury to his left thumb suffered during training.

Byrne, 29, started the first Test against the Springboks in Durban last weekend, but is now set to board a plane bound for the UK in the next couple of days. The Ospreys No.15 lasted until just before half-time against the Springboks in what was his fourth start on tour following games against the Royal XV, Cheetahs and Sharks before a foot injury forced him to make way.

The Lions management are not planning on calling up a replacement for Byrne, whose place in the Test side has been taken by Ireland's Rob Kearney, his replacement in the 26-21 loss at Kings Park.

"I am very disappointed that I got injured in training today and that my tour is over," said Byrne. "I was recovering from a foot injury and was taking part in training when I hurt my thumb in a freak accident.

"To be ruled out of the tour at this stage with just two matches left is devastating. Returning home immediately is the right thing to do as it means I can get the right medical treatment straightaway. I wish the boys all the best for the rest of the tour."

Byrne is the latest player to be sent home from the tour with an injury, joining Stephen Ferris, Ryan Jones, Leigh Halfpenny and Euan Murray. Before the squad had left they were also besieged by injury, with Jerry Flannery, Tom Shanklin and Tomas O'Leary joining the suspended Alan Quinlan in not making the trip.

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