B&I Lions suffer first major casualty
NEWS: The touring British and Irish Lions have been forced into making their first replacement for the trip to South Africa in July.
England prop Kyle Sinckler was called into the B&I Lions squad on Sunday, after Andrew Porter was ruled out through injury.
Ireland international Porter, 25, has been sidelined with a toe injury suffered during Leinster’s loss to Glasgow in the Rainbow Cup Pro14 this past Friday.
Sinckler, a Lions tourist in New Zealand in 2017, will join the squad after the end of the Bristol Bears season.
The southwest English club have qualified for the Premiership play-offs.
“It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a quick and successful rehab,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland in a statement.
“Andrew is a young man with a big future ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again in four years time.”
Sinckler was a surprise omission when Gatland named his original squad in May, with the 28-year-old saying at the time: “I am not going to lie – I am emotional. Right now it doesn’t make sense.”
But Gatland, who had run-ins with Sinckler when coaching Wales, said: “As always in rugby, when there’s an injury there’s an opportunity for someone else.
“I have been very pleased to see the way Kyle has responded to initially being left out of the touring party.
“He’s showed some excellent form of late and I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me about leaving him out in the first place.”
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In the 37-man party, Sinckler will compete for the tighthead prop start with Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong and Scotland’s Zander Fagerson.
The Lions assemble in Jersey on June 13 to begin preparations for a warm-up match against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26.
They then travel to South Africa for an eight-match tour culminating with three Tests against the world champion Springboks in Cape Town on July 24 and then in Johannesburg on July 31 and August 7.