First recruit called

Rory Best is the first, and certainly not the last, backup player to get a call up to the British & Irish Lions squad.

The call up is not as a result of injury, rather a lengthy ban picked up by Dylan Hartley ruling him out of the tour.

Hartley was cited and subsequently banned for 11 weeks, following his verbal abuse of referee Wayne Barnes. Hartley called Barnes a cheat during his club Northampton’s defeat to Leicester in the Premiership final, for which he received a straight red card.

Hartley stated that the comments were aimed at Leicester player Tom Youngs, but was still found guilty by a disciplinary panel.

Hartley will appeal the decision, and the uncertainty surrounding his availability for the matches has led to Best getting the call.

By Richard Ferguson