Wallaby O’Connor injured in Rebels loss

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Star back James O’Connor has suffered a sternum injury in the Melbourne Rebels’ Super Rugby game against the Blues, threatening his Wallabies selection.

The injury could put him in doubt for the upcoming Test series against the touring British and Irish Lions, with an initial 25-man squad to be named on May 18.

If fit the versatile 22-year-old is a certainty for a call-up.

O’Connor went for X-rays immediately following the Eden Park match, which his team lost 36-32.

He first appeared troubled by the injury 21 minutes into the game but played on.

Four minutes later he was slammed onto his back by a rampaging Rene Ranger as he set up a try for centre Frances Saili, which was his second of the opening 40 minutes.

The Rebels suffered another blow just minutes after O’Connor’s departure when replacement five-eighth Angus Roberts dislocated his shoulder.

It went back in but will undergo further testing.

The absence of that duo meant 20-year-old Bryce Hegarty earned his Super Rugby debut.

Blues winger Frank Halai scored a hat-trick in the first half to give his team a 29-10 lead at the break before the Rebels fought back to within four points.

A late try by Ranger sealed the result for the home side before Rebels fullback Jason Woodward scored after the siren to earn a second bonus point.

© AAP 2015
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