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Lions confirm that Paul O'Connell will remain in Australia until end of tour

The news about Jamie Roberts and Alex Corbisiero’s Test match chances was not so positive.

THE LIONS COACHING staff have confirmed that inspirational Irish lock Paul O’Connell will remain with the squad for the remainder of the tour.

O’Connell will miss the final two Test matches of the series with Australia but has taken head coach Warren Gatland up on his offer to stay with the squad until the Third Test in Sydney on 6 July. O’Connell fractured his arm in the 23-21 win over the Wallabies in Australia.

In the past two days, since the announcement of his tour-ending injury, Lions teammates such as Sean O’Brien, Dan Lydiate and Richie Gray have told the media of the hugely positive influence 33-year-old O’Connell has on the squad.

O’Connell was in the stands with fellow lock Alun Wyn Jones today as the Lions beat Melbourne Rebels 35-0. Sky Sports confirmed the news that the Munster forward would be staying on tour in the first half of their live match broadcast.

Our artist Steve O’Rourke’s impression of how Paulie might inspire the Lions. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Speaking on Monday, O’Brien said, “I think it’s just [O'Connell's] presence. He’s a lot of experience. He’s a big, physical man and has won a lot of trophies in his career. He has maintained his game for so long now. Off the field as well, he’s someone a lot of guys look up to. You can confide in him and talk to him. He’ll be missed.”

Speaking after his side’s win, Gatland has bad news for fans of centre Jamie Roberts and prop Alex Corbisiero. Both players are struggling to be fit for Saturday’s Second Test with the Wallabies.

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Patrick McCarry

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