INTERNATIONAL NEWS - njured captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out of the deciding third test against Australia in a major setback for the British and Irish Lions.
The Lions on Monday said Warburton had a "significant tear" in his left hamstring, sustained late in the 16-15 loss to the Wallabies in Melbourne on Saturday night. Warburton was inspirational at the breakdown in the second test, securing repeated turnovers for the Lions before he was helped off the field in the 67th minute when his team was leading Australia by six points.
The captaincy for the third test is likely to fall to veteran Irish center Briain O'Driscoll, who played in his first Lions tour in 2001 when Australia won the second and third tests to clinch the series. Warburton is likely to be replaced on the openside flank by Sean O'Brien.
Warburton will remain with the squad, which is in Noosa Heads for four days of training before returning to Sydney to finalize its buildup for the third test.
"It is incredibly disappointing to be ruled out of the tour through injury as we head to Sydney for the deciding match," he said. "I am confident that the boys can finish the job off and secure the series win."
The 24-year-old Welsh flanker was rested for the Lions tour-opening match against the Barbarians in Hong Kong to let a minor ailment heal but returned to confirm his place in the backrow for the start of the three-test series against the Australians.
He played an important role in the 23-21 win in the first test in Brisbane and was easily the best of the Lions players in the one-point loss in Melbourne, which allowed Australia to level the series.
After the second test, he remained in Melbourne under the supervision of Lions team doctor Eanna Falvey to undergo a full medical assessment, and had the scan which confirmed the damage.