Wales in South Africa 2014
Shoulder surgery keeps Tipuric out of South Africa tour
ESPN Staff
May 9, 2014
Justin Tipuric, seen in action against Alex Goode, is a fiery operator for Wales © Getty Images

Ospreys' flanker Justin Tipuric has been ruled out of Wales' tour to South Africa this summer after the region confirmed he would have an operation on a shoulder injury.

Tipuric has been playing despite a shoulder problem and is set to appear for Ospreys in their RaboDirect PRO12 fixture against Connacht on Saturday. But the flanker will undergo an operation at the end of the season, leaving Wales head coach Warren Gatland short of back row options.

Wales captain and Tipuric's openside rival Sam Warburton has already been ruled out with a shoulder injury, meaning Gatland is without two of his premier No.7s for the two-Test tour.

Gatland will have a chance to assess other options for the openside slot on May 30 at the first Wales 'Probables v Possibles' trial match for 14 years. But Dan Lydiate, a leading contender for the No.7 jersey, could miss the game if his Racing Metro side reach the Top 14 final, due to be held on May 31.

Racing face Toulouse in the Top 14 quarter-finals on May 9, with the winner going on to face Toulon in the semi-finals.

As well as shifting Lydiate from blind to openside, Gatland has considered deploying Cardiff Blues lock Bradley Davies in the back row. Wales will be competing against the impressive Springboks trio of No.8 Duane Vermeulen and flankers Willem Alberts and Francois Louw.

"We could shift Dan from blind-side to open-side and bring in Bradley at number six to deal with Alberts," said Gatland. "It's certainly something we are exploring."

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