Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Welsh injury toll rises ahead of All Blacks tour

Leigh Halfpenny's ongoing World Cup injury woes makes it unlikely to see him play the All Blacks in June. Photo / Getty Images
Leigh Halfpenny's ongoing World Cup injury woes makes it unlikely to see him play the All Blacks in June. Photo / Getty Images

Welsh hopes of finding a famous victory against the All Blacks have taken a few hits with a rising injury toll ahead of their June visit.

Three frontline choices will be scrubbed with several more on a doubtful list for the three test visit from Warren Gatland's side.

Ospreys flanker Justin Tipuric is the latest casualty with doctors deciding he needed more rest from the concussion he suffered in the Six Nations.

"The specialist advice is that it is in his best interests to take his time returning," Dr Chris Towers said.

"A prolonged three-month period of recovery rules him out of the rest of the season for the Ospreys and the Wales tour to New Zealand."

Prop Paul James has undergone eye surgery and with a recommended layoff of being six to 10 weeks, he is another who will be sidelined along with wing Alex Cuthbert who has had a knee operation.

Talented fullback Leigh Halfpenny has struggled with a range of injuries in the last year, missed the World Cup and is battling a setback from prolonged knee trouble.

He was expected to return for his Toulon club this month however French media report he will not feature in any matches, a prognosis which would make it awkward to then pick him for the trip to New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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