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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 22 March, 2018

Hogg injury a worry for Lions but Murray fine after dislocated finger

The fullback collided with the Lions scrum-half’s elbow during the win over the Crusaders.

Murray Kinsella reports from Dunedin

STUART HOGG HAS emerged as an injury worry for the Lions, with the fullback to see a specialist to ascertain the seriousness of the cheek damage he suffered in an unfortunate collision with team-mate Conor Murray.

The Scotland fullback was forced off in the first half of the Lions’ win over the Crusaders on Saturday night after he accidentally ran into Murray’s elbow as he chased his own kick, and his tour is suddenly in doubt.

Stuart Hogg goes off with a blood injury Hogg will see a specialist. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Hogg was split open instantly in the collision and left the pitch bleeding profusely from a wound close to his left eye. Having been replaced by Anthony Watson in the 20th minute, Hogg did not return and he is now an injury worry for the Lions.

“We’re getting a specialist to have a look at that cheek of his, just to get some idea in the next 24 or 48 hours in terms of how serious that is in terms of an injury,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland today.

“We’re hoping he’s going to be ok, but someone more qualified that me is having a look at that.”

The fact that Hogg needs a specialist opinion on the cheek injury is concerning for the Lions, but they await further clarity on the injury in the next two days.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Murray himself suffered a finger injury in the victory over the Crusaders but should be fine, even if he is set to miss training in Dunedin on Monday.

“I think Conor dislocated a finger or something, so he probably won’t take a full part in training tomorrow,” said Gatland.

“He’ll be fine. He just strapped those fingers up and got them caught, which sometimes happens.”

Stuart Hogg and Conor Murray celebrate winning Murray and Hogg make up after Saturday's game. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Though centre Jonathan Davies failed his HIA during the clash in Christchurch, Gatland stated that the Welsh centre – who was replaced by Johnny Sexton in the 28th minute – is on track with the return-to-play protocols.

Back row Ross Moriarty is struggling with a back issue he sustained in the opening game of the tour against the Provincial Barbarians, although Gatland remains hopeful the Welshman will recover.

“He had a bit of a back strain that he got in that first game,” said Gatland. “He hasn’t taken a huge part in training, the physios have been working with him. Hopefully, he’s back training fully in three days’ time.”

But it’s the injury to Hogg that is causing most concern for the Lions and Jared Payne’s positional switch to fullback for Tuesday’s clash with the Highlanders is partly due to the potential loss of the Glasgow Warriors flyer.

Payne started at outside centre against the Blues last week but switches to the 15 shirt for his second appearance on this tour as Gatland assesses another option at fullback.

“We’ve discussed with Stuart Hogg getting that knock, we just want to give us the option of having Jared at 15 as well,” said Gatland.

“He’s a quality centre but we know he’s played a lot of rugby at fullback as well.”

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