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Ospreys and Scarlets duo face time out

Guinness PRO12 Editor

25 Oct 2010

Ospreys full back Lee Byrne has been ruled out of action until at least the last weekend of November, while Scarlets back row Rob McCusker faces six weeks on the sidelines.

Byrne will miss the first three of Wales' autumn Tests against Australia, South Africa and Fiji and is a major doubt for the final international against New Zealand on November 27.

The Lions tourist fractured his hand in the reigning Magners League Champions’ 31-23 defeat to Glasgow Warriors on Sunday afternoon and is now awaiting further medical advice on the extent of the injury.

“Lee will be given a specialist opinion this afternoon on whether his injury is treatable with a cast. If that is the case rather than surgery he will have an outside chance of being back for the All Blacks game,” said Wales physio Mark Davies.

Byrne, who has featured in all six of the Ospreys’ Magners League ties so far this term, fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand at Firhill.

And unfortunately for Wales, Byrne isn’t the only Magners League international struggling with injury problems.

Blues trio Leigh Halfpenny, Bradley Davies and Richie Rees and Ryan Jones of the Ospreys are all injury concerns, while Scarlets flanker McCusker will be a definite autumn absentee.

McCusker has been forced to withdraw from the Wales squad to undergo a hernia operation, although he will be available to the Scarlets for Friday night’s Magners League clash at home to Glasgow.

Halfpenny and Davies are struggling with ankle injuries, while Jones and Rees are nursing calf and hamstring problems respectively.

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

“Leigh (Halfpenny) sustained an injury to his ankle on Saturday, but we are unable to give any more information at the moment other than that he will have a scan to attempt to rule out any significant injury today. Ryan (Jones), Bradley (Davies) and Richie (Rees) will all be scanned as a matter of routine this afternoon.

“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.

“Bradley came off on Saturday with an ankle injury, but this should be a minor problem and he will be up and running before the end of the week and Richie also has a minor hamstring injury.”

Young Sacrlets wing sensation George North is in the third week of recovery from a fracture to his fibula and is scheduled for his latest scan this weekend. The 18-year-old squad debutant should be up and running next week.

Wales have decided not to replace McCusker in their now 32-man squad but Blues wing cum full back Chris Czekaj has been called up in place of Byrne.