As announced yesterday, Ryan Jones will replace Stephen Ferris for the remainder of the Lions tour following a training injury sustained by the Irish back row forward.
Commenting on the call up, Ian McGeechan said, “Ryan Jones has been called up to replace Stephen Ferris who unfortunately sustained a knee injury during Monday afternoon’s training. He twisted his right knee in a training drill and following a medical assessment it was decided that he should undergo a scan to determine the extent of the injury.”
“He had the scan on Tuesday morning that showed he had a grade two tear to his medial collateral ligament. This usually requires a four to six week recovery period and is severe enough to mean he will miss the rest of the tour. Therefore with six matches left on tour after Wednesday’s match against the Sharks we believe we need to fly out a replacement as cover for the back row.”
This is a bitter blow for the Lions, and for Ferris personally, with many regarding the Ulster player as a Test starter. Whilst Jones made a significant impact on the tour of New Zealand in 2005, forcing his way into the side for all three tests after a similarly late call up, his omission from the original tour party this time around reflected his recent dip in form and the Wales skipper will have a point to prove when he arrives in Cape Town on Thursday.
Tom Croft appears to be the player who will profit most from Ferris’s misfortune however, and will now surely be regarded as the favourite for the blindside test spot. Whether it is Croft or somebody else, they will need to quickly face up to the prospect of coping with a hugely powerful and efficient Springbok back row.
How big a blow do you think Ferris’s injury will be to the Lions? Can Ryan Jones make any real impact on the tour at this stage and who is now favourite for the number 6 test jersey? As ever, let us know your thoughts.