Lions hooker Jerry Flannery is the latest player to miss the tour to South Africa, while Tom Croft has been named as Alan Quinlan’s replacement.
Wednesday was a bad day for the Lions as the expected first-choice No 2, Flannery, was the third player to drop out within 24 hours. Wing Leigh Halfpenny is expected to miss the first two weeks, while Quinlan’s suspension was upheld.
England utility forward Croft was always the likely replacement and coach Ian McGeechan confirmed he would fly out with the team after playing in Leicester’s European Cup final against Leinster.
‘We had to be fair and allow Alan Quinlan the opportunity to appeal his suspension,’ said McGeechan.
‘However, following the outcome of the appeal we have replaced Quinlan with Tom Croft who, it must be said, was very unlucky not to have been selected in the original tour party.
‘Tom showed in his recent performances for Leicester following the tour party announcement that he could put aside his disappointment and perform at a very high level.
‘He was on our selection reserve list and today his continued good form has been rewarded with selection.’
Scotland hooker Ross Ford or Ireland’s second-choice No 2 Rory Best are favoured to take over from Flannery – who chipped a bone in his elbow. Delon Armitage, Chris Paterson or Josh Lewsey are all possibilities to replace Halfpenny for the initial stages of the tour.
Scrumhalf Tomas O’Leary was the first player of the original 37-man squad to be injured, with Mike Blair his replacement, while Wales centre Tom Shanklin was also ruled out.