Lions Tour descends into absolute farce 4 years ago

Lions Tour descends into absolute farce

They say that representing the British & Irish Lions is the pinnacle of many players' careers. This morning's announcement of four additional call-ups has cheapened that claim.

As first reported on Friday, the Lions have called up four Wales internationals - Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis - to join up with the squad ahead of Tuesday's game against the Chiefs.

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All four played in Wales' 24-6 victory over Tonga on Friday night and will be straight into the selection mix for Tuesday, although it is highly unlikely any will feature in the First Test at Eden Park.

The Lions also confirmed that Gloucester and Wales back-row Ross Moriarty would miss the remainder of the tour after suffering from back spasms.

The Lions are supposed to represent the very best of the four 'home' nations but the decision of head coach Warren Gatland to populate his squad with second and third choice Welsh players takes blows that out of the water.

While the likes of Joe Launchbury, Keith Earls, Mike Brown, Simon Zebo, Devin Toner and Dylan Hartley are all touring with England and Ireland, Gatland has opted to call up four players with 58 combined Test caps [27 starts]. Davies and Francis may have had legitimate call-up hopes but Hill and Dacey are bolters of the highest order.

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The idea of drafting in extra players for midweek games, especially when the Tests begin, is understandable but three nations have has players overlooked as they didn't happen to be in New Zealand and are all one flight away.

In explaining his actions, Gatland declared:

"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.

"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, give us quality training numbers to prepare properly as well as offering us options for selection for the Chiefs match."

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Gatland added:

"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, give us quality training numbers to prepare properly as well as offering us options for selection for the Chiefs match."

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Gatland claims all 'home' unions, including Ireland and England, are supportive of the concept.

Further call-ups are expected after this weekend's international action, with Finn Russell and Allan Dell of Scotland both tipped for inclusion.