Earls to miss Lions game against the Golden Lions

Ireland centre Keith Earls looks set to miss the British & Irish Lions game against the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Earls picked up the injury during the Lions disappointing 37-25 win against the Royal XV in Rustenburg yesterday afternoon in a game which he will hope to forget as quickly as possible. The Munster player's nervy performance was punctuated by a number of basic handling errors.

The Lions management team have also been left sweating over the fitness of scrum-half Mike Blair, centre Ricky Flutey as well as captain and second row Paul O'Connell ahead of the midweek game.

However, the most pressing concern for Ian McGeechan and his coaching staff will be the nature of yesterday's performance against the weakest team that the Lions will meet during the six week tour. With the Bulls - featuring a large number of Springboks - winning the Super 14 final last night in emphatic fashion, the Lions will need to gel sooner rather than later if they are to have any chance of beating South Africa.

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