Moriarty out as Lions call up reinforcements

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 10:34

NEWS: Wales flank Ross Moriarty was ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour with a nerve injury on Saturday.

This comes as coach Warren Gatland called up his first batch of 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 the Welsh quartet of Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis.

All four new arrivals played in Wales's victory over Tonga in Auckland this past Friday, while Scotland are in Australia and Ireland are touring Japan.

And in addition, following the conclusion of Australia versus Scotland Test, the B&I Lions also called up Allan Dell and Finn Russell.

The duo will link up with the squad in Hamilton in Sunday.

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

But Gatland 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."

The Lions, who play the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday, said they would make another announcement about reinforcements after this weekend's Tests.

Gatland arrived with an original squad of 41. 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.

Earlier Jones told the BBC: "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."

Moriarty expressed his disappointment.

"It has been my dream since I was able to understand what rugby was, to play for the British & Irish Lions," the Welsh loose forward said.

"Rugby is a huge part of mine and my family's life and I'm hugely honoured to have been able to pull on the famous jersey and be part of this group and this tour.
 
"I feel becoming a Lion was reward for all the people who have helped me get to this stage in my career and I have really enjoyed the experience.

"I wish all the boys the best and I'll be supporting them on fully from back home.”
 
Sources: Agence France-Presse & British & Irish Lions

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