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'That could rule him out' - Tipuric not out of woods but Gatland optimistic

By PA

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British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has given an optimistic update on injured flanker Justin Tipruic to offer some relief following the hammer blow of losing Alun Wyn Jones before departing for South Africa.

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The Lions got off to a winning start, claiming a comfortable 28 – 10 victory over Japan in Murrayfield, but the team appears to have paid a heavy injury toll.

Tipuric followed captain Jones off the pitch, his downcast body language after being injured during a tackle suggesting a significant issue.

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The veteran of three tours now faces an anxious wait to see if he will be fit for the flight south, but Gatland remains optmistic.

“Justin got a stinger in the shoulder so we’re going to check to make sure on a scan that there’s no nerve damage,” Gatland said.

“If there was any nerve impingement or damage then that could rule him out, but at the moment we’re pretty confident he’ll be OK and it’s just a stinger in the shoulder.”

Apart from scoring four tries to launch their tour with a comfortable win, it was a bleak afternoon for the Lions.

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“No one is in shock because if you’re in shock its reflects back into the whole squad,” Gatland said.

“We understand things are different and fluid and we have to move on and be able to react and make decisions and that is the only way you can deal with it.

“If you go into a shock scenario and look as if you are panicking then it will reflect badly on us.

“It’s disappointing for Alun Wyn and also for Justin Tipuric if he is not right, but we have to do it right.

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“Let’s make the right decisions and do it as quickly as we can in the calmest way that we can.”

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'That could rule him out' - Tipuric not out of woods but Gatland optimistic

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