Rotorua - The British and Irish Lions called up four Welsh players to
bolster their squad on Saturday and said more reinforcements were likely.
Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis,
who all played in Wales' victory over Tonga in Auckland on Friday, got the
Coach Warren Gatland arrived with a squad of 41 and he has
already lost injured fullback Stuart Hogg. As of Saturday, the Lions are
playing three tour games plus three Tests 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 as he announced the additional players,
just hours before his shadow Test line-up face the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua.
"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 said there will be further call-ups after the other
Tests this weekend.
Earlier England coach Eddie Jones, who is leading his team
on a tour of Argentina, urged Gatland to choose his reinforcements on merit
rather than location.
Wales are already in New Zealand, Scotland are in Australia
and Ireland are embarking on a two-Test tour of Japan.
"The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a
Lion, you're remembered for life," Jones told BBC Radio 5 live.
"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