All Blacks lose Donnelly
November 20, 2010
Tom Donnelly's tour could be over © Getty Images
All Black lock Tom Donnelly's Grand Slam tour appears to be over after he suffered a knee injury in Saturday's 38-18 win over Ireland at Lansdowne Road.
The Highlanders second-row was replaced by Sam Whitelock just before half-time in Dublin and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen admitted that the initial prognosis was not positive following confirmation of medial ligament damage.
"It's likely his tour will be over," he said.
Donelly returned to action for the first time since New Zealand's loss to Australia in Hong Kong on October 30, having missed out to Whitelock for recent victories over England and Scotland.
Brad Thorn sat out the Ireland Test due to a hamstring problem but is expected back for next weekend's meeting with Wales and Hansen confirmed that the All Blacks were well covered in the second-row after a strong performance from Anthony Boric.
"Thorny will be fine," he said. "He's made a wise decision to ensure that leg came right. Anthony Boric was outstanding. He hadn't played 80 minutes for a long time and he came out, filled the breach left by Brad and played like a true international lock. He really believed in himself and gave a performance he could be proud of."
Ireland also suffered in the injury stakes, with skipper Brian O'Driscoll missing the post-match press conference because he was having scans on a shoulder knock. Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney are also having knee injuries assessed while hooker Rory Best is struggling with a damaged cheekbone.
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