Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Ben Youngs pulls out of Lions squad for family reasons

Ben Youngs pulls out of Lions squad for family reasons Ben Youngs pulls out of Lions squad for family reasons
Ben Pena | 10 May, 2017, 00:46

Laidlaw and Welsh backrower Ross Moriarty will play for Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final against Stade Francais on Friday, while six more Lions are in action for Saracens in the European Cup final against Clermont Auvergne the following day. This date has been communicated months and months and months ago. We always knew this tour was going to be on at the same time as the Lions tour.

Scrum-half Laidlaw gets his chance to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Roy, who toured with the Lions in 1983, after Ben Youngs withdrew from the squad on Saturday on compassionate grounds following the news his sister-in-law had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"The more you play, the more you get recognised and marked, so it's understanding my role in the system and how I can apply myself within the game and be the biggest pain I can to the opposition and how I can best impose myself on the game".

"I've got a good opportunity to get out there now and put in another good performance". But I understand the situation, and appreciate the fact that Saracens and Gloucester are releasing their players to us. "So it does make a difference".

"I will be talking to the players about my expectations and what it is like to tour New Zealand".

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But there was still that "first day of school" feeling for Henshaw and he was especially excited to receive the Lions-branded laptop bag, which he had seen with envy coaches and players wearing from previous tours. It is a tremendous honour to be selected for the Lions. First, though, Gatland must fly to Japan for tomorrow's 2019 World Cup draw in his capacity as Wales coach. "From a Welsh point of view, I don't think you're too anxious about who you end up in your group with", he said with a smile.

"This is a hard and important time for them and we send Ben, Tom and their family our heartfelt thoughts". Laidlaw expressed his huge sympathy for the Leicester Tigers siblings when he met the media on Monday.

"We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together", said Ben in a statement issued by the Tigers after the club secured a Premiership play-off spot with a 28-23 victory at Worcester.

Glasgow will also have a change at the top as Dave Rennie arrives to take over from Gregor Townsend.

"Having spoken to Ben we were comfortable to call in Greig Laidlaw. It was obviously not ideal for him, but he's here from day one which is a bit easier than a later introduction to the squad".

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