Warren Gatland admits Justin Tipuric’s involvement in Wales’ tour to South Africa is in doubt as he sees out the domestic season with a shoulder problem.
Tipuric came off the bench in the British & Irish Lions’ decisive third Test against Australia in Sydney last July before returning to the fore for club and country.
However, Gatland hinted Tipuric may not be able to follow up his Lions success in South Africa this summer as a shoulder operation remains a possibility for the openside flanker.
Gatland said: “Justin has a shoulder problem which might need some work doing at the end of the season.
“It could need an operation, a shaving of some bone, and there’s a possibility he could be ruled out of the tour by it.
“But we’ve got other options because I think South Africa is a team you can play against, because of the size of the players they pick in their back-row, without a specialist openside.”
Wales will certainly be without the services of Lions captain Sam Warburton, who dislocated his shoulder in March against Scotland.