Rugby Union: Chalmers injury may let in Andrew

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The Independent Online
CRAIG CHALMERS, the Scotland outside-half, is due to be discharged tomorrow from hospital in Edinburgh after surgery to pin the double fracture which has put him out of the British Isles' summer tour to New Zealand.

He was hurt in a tackle by Dewi Morris during England's 26-12 win at Twickenham. The product of Chalmers's deep misfortune is that Rob Andrew, whose Lions chance appeared to have disappeared along with his England place, is now favourite to accompany Stuart Barnes on the tour.

Chalmers, 24, broke the radius and ulna in his right forearm. Steel plates were attached to both bones in an operation at West London Hospital, Isleworth, on Saturday and he travelled home with the Scottish team yesterday before being admitted to the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. Chalmers will not play again until next season; a 12-week recovery period makes the Lions tour, beginning in mid-May, an impossibility.

Another Scotland back, Scott Hastings, who was helped off with strained ankle ligaments, will be fit for consideration by the Lions selectors, whose choice will be announced on 22 March, two days after the concluding Five Nations' Championship matches between Ireland and England in Dublin and France and Wales in Paris. Initially, Hastings was expected to be out for six weeks but he has already thrown away the crutches and the lay-off is now down to three weeks.

The Wales captain, Ieuan Evans, will be fit to face the French despite leaving the field after bumping his head in the 19-14 defeat by Ireland in Cardiff. The Welsh Rugby Union was careful to point out that Evans had not been concussed, which would have incurred a mandatory three-week lay-off.

With a points difference of +22 to England's +14, France are clear favourites to win the title, which cannot be shared now that there is a Five Nations trophy. The silverware was unveiled on Saturday, though if you were actually at Twickenham rather than watching TV you would never have known.

Barnes opens the door

Ireland confound critics, page 26

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