British Lions

Lions call up 6 reinforcements

2017-06-17 15:27
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Rotorua - Wales flank Ross Moriarty was ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour with a nerve injury on Saturday as coach Warren Gatland called up six reinforcements.

Moriarty, who played in the tour opener against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, becomes the Lions' second loss to injury after fullback Stuart Hogg departed with a facial fracture.

"We are really disappointed for Ross," said Gatland, adding: "It is disappointing to see injury cut his tour short but we wish him all the best with his recovery."

Moriarty's departure was announced shortly after Gatland called up Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis who played in Wales' victory over Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

Gatland later added Allan Dell and Finn Russell after they featured in Scotland's 24-19 win over Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

England coach Eddie Jones, who is leading his team on a tour of Argentina, has urged Gatland to choose reinforcements on "merit rather than geographical proximity".

But Gatland, commenting on the Welsh players, said: "Bringing in these players from an identical time zone, who can hit the ground running and step straight in rather than having to adjust following long-haul travel will help us manage players before the first Test (and) give us quality training numbers to prepare properly."

Gatland arrived with an original squad of 41. 

Following their 32-10 win over the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday, the Lions have two tour games plus three Tests remaining over the next three weeks.

"We have said all along that we need to give ourselves the best chance of winning the Test series and that could potentially involve calling up players," Gatland said.

Earlier Jones told the BBC from Argentina: "The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a Lion, you're remembered for life.

"My only comment would be I would like to see it picked on merit rather than geographical proximity."

He added: "It's only a 13-hour trip from here to New Zealand."

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