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Welsh Rugby
Wales suffer Byrne blow
ESPNscrum Staff
October 25, 2010
Wales fullback Lee Byrne trudges from the field after being sin-binned, Ireland v Wales, Six Nations, Croke Park, March 14, 2010
Lee Byrne is certain to miss Wales' opening three autumn internationals against Australia, South Africa and Fiji © PA Photos
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Wales have suffered a massive blow ahead of next month's autumn internationals with fullback Lee Byrne ruled out of their opening three Tests against Australia, South Africa and Fiji.

Ospreys star Byrne fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand during Sunday's Magners League clash against Glasgow. The Welsh Rugby Union say Byrne has "an outside chance" of being available for Wales' autumn finale against New Zealand on November 27.

Cardiff Blues back Chris Czekaj has been called into the squad as a replacement for Byrne, while Scarlets back-row forward Rob McCusker has withdrawn from the squad to undergo a hernia operation.

Cardiff Blues wing Leigh Halfpenny, a possible fullback alternative to Byrne, was awaiting the result of a scan on an ankle problem on Monday, while back-row forward Ryan Jones will undergo a calf muscle scan. Blues scrum-half Richie Rees and lock Bradley Davies, meanwhile, face checks on what are described as minor injury concerns.

Wales kick off the autumn series against Australia in Cardiff on November 6.

"Lee Byrne will be given a specialist opinion on whether the injury is treatable with a cast," said Wales team physiotherapist Mark Davies. "If that is the case, rather than surgery, he will have an outside chance of being back for the All Blacks game."

Davies continued: "Leigh Halfpenny sustained an injury to his ankle, but we are unable to give any more information at the moment other than he will have a scan to attempt to rule out any significant injury.

"Ryan, Bradley and Richie will all be scanned as a matter of routine. Ryan has a calf problem which he picked up in Glasgow yesterday, and we will know more over the next 24 hours, but he is not ruled out of the Australia match at the moment."

As for McCusker, Davies added: "The decision has been taken for Rob to have surgery sooner rather than later to give him a chance of returning to the international arena in time for the Six Nations Championship and therefore to make the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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