Rugby

Best gets Lions lifeline

2013-05-26 19:05
Rory Best (AFP Photo)

Dublin - Ireland's Rory Best has been called up to the British and Irish Lions squad for their tour of Australia after England hooker Dylan Hartley was banned for 11 weeks on Sunday.

Hartley's ban followed his red card for calling referee Wayne Barnes a cheat during the English Premiership final defeat of his Northampton club by Leicester on Saturday.

Hartley, the first player ever sent off in a Premiership final, claimed his comments were aimed at Leicester's Tom Youngs but a Rugby Football Union independent disciplinary panel found against the New Zealand-born hooker.

VIDEO: Dylan Hartley red card

"With uncertainty over the availability of Dylan Hartley to tour, and with the first of 10 matches only days away we had no option but to call up the additional player," Lions manager Andy Irvine said in a statement.

"Despite the circumstances we should congratulate Rory, who will join the squad tomorrow and fly with us to Hong Kong.

"A final decision on whether Dylan Hartley will take any part in the tour will depend on the outcome of any potential appeal."

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