The British and Irish Lions have been dealt a severe blow with news emerging that full-back Stuart Hogg will return home after being ruled out of the rest of the tour with a facial injury suffered in the victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Hogg, who has been the Six Nations Player of the Tournament for the past two years running, was a key member of the squad, and coach Warren Gatland is unsurprisingly disappointed to lose the Scot before the Test matches against the All Blacks have even started.
"It is hugely disappointing for Stuart to have to return home early," said head coach Warren Gatland.
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"Stuart has been a key member of our squad on and off the field and it is disappointing to see injury cut short his time with us in New Zealand.
"We all wish him the best with his recovery and we look forward to seeing him back in action."
Such was the severity of Hogg's injury, it is believed that he was told that he could potentially lose his sight if he continued to play on the tour.
Commentator Miles Harrison put it all in perspective in a recent tweet, and while Hogg is understandably gutted, he also realises some things are more important.
"I'm gutted to be leaving the Tour at this stage," Hogg said.
"It is an honour to have been involved in a second British and Irish Lions tour. I have hugely enjoyed my time with the squad and I'm very excited about the potential of this group.
"I'm disappointed to be leaving in this way but wish all the squad the best in the coming weeks and will be cheering them on from home."
After an indifferent start to the tour, having scraped past a New Zealand Provincial XV and losing out to the Blues, the Lions were again expected to struggle against the Crusaders, New Zealand's top super rugby franchise.
However, a miserly performance saw them shut out the usually free-flowing Crusaders as they clinched their second win of the tour.
The Lions, who will have taken confidence a plenty out of their performance in Christchurch, will take on the Highlanders today before their biggest challenge so far against the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.
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