Warburton out of final Test with hamstring tear

BRITISH and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton has backed his team-mates to win their first series since 1997, though he will be absent for their deciding Test match with Australia on Saturday.

The flanker will miss the Sydney showdown after suffering a hamstring tear in the 16-15 defeat to the Wallabies on Saturday.

Such is the severity of his muscle tear it is feared the 24-year-old Cardiff Blues forward could be ruled out until October.

However, Warburton’s immediate concern lies with the Lions and he believes a series win can still be achieved.

“It is incredibly disappointing to be ruled out of the tour through injury as we head to Sydney for the deciding match,” said Warburton.

“I wish the team all the best, and hope I can play some part in the build-up this week. I am confident that the boys can finish the job off and secure the series win.”

Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll, who lead the Lions during their 2005 tour to New Zealand when they lost the series 3-0, is expected to skipper the side with Ireland second row Paul O’Connell also missing, having suffered a broken arm in the first Test.

Head coach Warren Gatland is set to name his team tomorrow and Sean O’Brien is expected to replace Warburton.