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Anxious wait for Hogg but Lions have no plan to call up replacement

The Scotland fullback has visited a specialist to have his cheek injury examined.

Murray Kinsella reports from Dunedin

LIONS FULLBACK STUART Hogg is anxiously waiting on results from a specialist visit to determine whether the cheek injury he suffered against the Crusaders will end his tour.

The Lions currently have no plan to call up a replacement for Hogg, even if the fullback is forced to return home to Scotland with his injury.

Stuart Hogg goes off with a blood injury with Prav Mathema Hogg was injured in an accidental collion with Conor Murray. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“We’re still waiting on a report back on Stuart Hogg, so we’ll get that later this afternoon,” said assistant coach Andy Farrell on Monday in Dunedin.

“[It was for] the bang in general just to see if there’s anything else that’s going on there. We’ll find out later on today.”

And while the Lions did not suggest that Hogg would be ruled out for the remainder of the tour, Farrell indicated that they believe they have enough players in their squad to cover for the potential loss.

Warren Gatland opted to bring 41 players to New Zealand, so even if Hogg was to travel home they would still have greater numbers than on many previous tours.

“Gats will give him all the time he needs to make sure he’s alright,” said Farrell.

“We’ll wait for the outcome but I would think at this moment in time, we’ve got a pretty big squad and we’ve got a lot of people in place to cover different positions.”

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Jared Payne gets a shot in the 15 shirt for the Lions against the Highlanders tomorrow night, while Leigh Halfpenny and Anthony Watson have also both played at fullback on his tour.

Jared Payne Payne gets the 15 shirt for tomorrow's clash. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While Hogg’s injury is a concern, the Lions have brought a positive mindset to Dunedin after their momentum-boosting win over the Crusaders on Saturday in Christchurch.

Having limited one of the best attacks in the world to just three points, Farrell was understandably happy with his defence’s performance.

“I thought our game management was outstanding against a very good side. I thought the most pleasing thing was keeping them down to three points. Our discipline was better, but the main thing for us was that we got stronger throughout the game. Our collisions got stronger, our breakdown got better, our linespeed improved.

“We’re bearing the fruits of the last three weeks. We’ve gone hard with the lads in contact, fitness, taking a lot out of the legs and with the travel, etc. that would have had an impact on the first couple of games, but we’re ready to get battle-hardened for a Test match.

“We’re still ramping it up intensity-wise in training, contact-wise, because we’ve got to get up to breakneck speed for the first Test.”

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Murray Kinsella

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