Planet Rugby

Tipuric's tour in doubt

17th April 2014 11:32

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Justin Tipuric Wales v Ireland 2013

Shoulder problem: Justin Tipuric

Wales head coach Warren Gatland may be without speedy Ospreys openside Justin Tipuric for his side's June tour of South Africa.

The flanker may require shoulder surgery, and may not be recovered in time to make the plane. The news is particularly bad for Gatland given Sam Warburton has already been ruled out of the trip.

WalesOnline report that Tipuric has been playing through the shoulder problem, but may now have to stay in Wales and undergo an operation.

Not only does it dent the player's chances of staking a claim to the number seven jersey so often filled by Warburton, but Gatland is left with something of a selection dilemma ahead of tough games with one of the world's biggest packs.

To counteract the size, power and strength of the Boks eight, with blindside Willem Alberts proving especially problematic to Wales in the past.

Gatland believes he can avoid fielding a specialist openside, and revealed he is considering moving the hard-tackling Dan Lydiate to seven, with second-row Bradley Davies starting on the blindside.

"Justin has a shoulder problem which might need some work doing at the end of the season," said Gatland.

"It could need an operation, a shaving of some bone, and there's a possibility he could be ruled out of the tour by it.

"But we've got other options because I think South Africa is a team you can play against, because of the size of the players they pick in their back-row, without a specialist openside.

"We could shift Dan from blindside to openside and bring in Bradley at six to deal with Alberts. It's certainly something we are exploring."

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