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Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images James O'Connor will be out of action until the end of the month.
# Lions 2013
Lions worry for Australia’s James O’Connor after shoulder injury
The 22-year-old will be out of action until the end of the month after receiving a blow against Auckland Blues.

AUSTRALIA’S LIONS SERIES preparations have been dealt a blow after star outhalf James O’Connor was struck down with injury. The 22-year-old is expected to miss up to two weeks of Super Rugby after injuring his shoulder playing for the Melbourne Rebels against Auckland Blues.

The Rebels said Sunday that the Wallaby playmaker damaged his left sternoclavicular joint, although scans showed there was no fracture.

O’Connor’s setback comes just weeks ahead of the Lions tour to Australia — he is vying with Quade Cooper and Berrick Barnes for the Wallabies fly-half role.

O’Connor was injured in the early stages of the Rebels’ 36-32 loss to the Blues in Auckland on Saturday and initially played on. But four minutes later he was slammed on to his back by Rene Ranger as he set up a try for centre Frances Saili and had to leave the field.

Meanwhile, Barnes came off the bench to kick the crucial conversion and a 50-metre penalty to seal the New South Wales Waratahs’ 21-15 win over South Africa’s Western Stormers in Sydney on Saturday.

The one-time Wallabies vice-captain has played a total of only 35 minutes all season but he has come back into reckoning for the Lions Test series after returning to action from a wrist injury.

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Barnes has another chance to impress for the Waratahs against Super 15 leaders ACT Brumbies next weekend before coach Robbie Deans names a 25-man Wallabies squad next Sunday (May 19).

Deans will unveil his final 31-man squad to tackle the Lions on 11 June.

© AFP, 2013

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