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Rib injury rules Lewsey out of Classic

Josh Lewsey flew home last night after his World Rugby Classic was ended by a rib injury.

The Classic Lions wing suffered cartilage damage to three ribs during Tuesday’s 83-5 drubbing of Italy and has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.

Lewsey’s loss is a huge blow to the Lions who ran in 13 tries against Italy and face the All Blacks this evening in the first Classic semi-final.

“It’s a shame that we had a few days of bad weather, then once the tournament starts it finishes so quickly,” Lewsey said yesterday.

“It would be nice to kick on, New Zealand obviously is a big game next, it would have been nice to have been involved in that but that’s rugby for you, silly sport really.

“It was a bit disappointing, the scoreline was great and I think the way we played was quite pleasing really. We threw the ball round the park, and for a team that’s never played together I think we played pretty well.”

The World Cup winner’s brief appearance could be the only time that Lewsey comes to Bermuda with Allan Martin, the Lions manager, unsure if work committents would prevent Lewsey’s return.

“It’s a shame because he’s such an exciting runner, you don’t see so many Josh Lewsey’s over here (Bermuda),” said Martin. “Another year on, there’s another year of commitments and it’s a question of if he can find a gap to come again.

“But there’s nothing much you can do about it, that’s rugby, you’re only as good as your body will allow you to be.”

How good the Lions are, how much they might miss Lewsey, and what sort of threat the All Blacks pose this year are all questions that won’t be answered until tonight’s Classic semi-final begins.

Neither side were given much of a test in their opening games against Italy and USA, when the Lions and the All Blacks ran in 122 points between them and conceded a total of five.

“I don’t think we learned anything from the early game,” said Martin. “To be perfectly honest I was very disappointed with Italy in the make up of their side, I was hoping that they would put together players who would actually know what they were doing.

“It doesn’t help the tournament with the result that came from our game. The USA put up a bit more resistance against the All Blacks, but we need competitive sides at this tournament because you’re only able to have eight here.”

Not that the strength and weaknesses of the two sides aren’t well known and ultimately Martin believes a mistake at the breakdown or the bad weather could decide the outcome.

“Defences are fairly organised from set-piece,” said Martin, “and it’s going to come down to whoever is going to spill the odd ball, and the attack will come from there, when the defence is a bit disjointed.

“You know it’s always going to hinge on mistakes and the weather like this it’s going to be a little bit of a lottery, especially with the high ball. Throwing at the lineout isn’t going to be the most accurate and it could come from that, or it could just come from a ball being spilled in midfield.”

Before the Lions and All Blacks meet at 8.30pm, USA and Italy will battle it out this evening in the first Plate semi-final (7.15pm).

The Eagles might not have scored against New Zealand but their greater discipline and the pace of Mike Harvey and Luis Tulio means they are favourites to progress to Saturday’s Plate final.

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Published November 10, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 10, 2011 at 8:07 am)

Rib injury rules Lewsey out of Classic

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