Lions: Four Welsh call-ups, Moriarty ruled out, Jones critical

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones’ England are preparing for the second Test in Argentina, which could count against the players getting a Lions call up

Warren Gatland should add players to the British and Irish Lions squad in New Zealand based on “merit rather than geographical proximity”, England head coach Eddie Jones says.

Lions boss Gatland has added four Welsh players to the squad, while their injured compatriot Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the tour.

Wales are on tour in Australasia, while England are playing in Argentina.

“It’s only a 13-hour trip from here to New Zealand,” said Jones.

“The [England] boys could be there.”

Flanker Moriarty has not featured since the tour opener against the Provincial Barbarians because of a back injury.

“He has had a hugely impressive season, it is disappointing to see injury cut his tour short,” said Gatland.

The Lions face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday (08:35 BST) and the Chiefs on Tuesday before the first Test in Auckland on 24 June, with Gatland wanting extra players to ensure none of the Test squad have to play twice in a week.

Welsh quartet Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Gareth Davies have been called up to the Lions squad.

The four all featured in Wales’ 24-6 victory over Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

“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,” Gatland said.

Scotland, meanwhile, are in Sydney to face Australia on Saturday and prop Allan Dell and fly-half Finn Russell are set to be added to the Lions squad following that game.

Jones’ squad are preparing for England’s second Test in Argentina, which is in a different time zone and may count against those players.

“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.”

In addition to Moriarty being ruled out of the tour, Lions fly-half Owen Farrell is out of Saturday’s game and may miss the first Test against the All Blacks after suffering a quadriceps injury in training, while full-back Stuart Hogg has left the tour with a facial injury.

Gatland’s Lions have won two and lost two of their four games in New Zealand so far.

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