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England mainstay Kyle Sinckler was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad for their tour of South Africa on Sunday after Andrew Porter was sacked with injury.
Ireland international Porter, 25, was sidelined with a toe injury suffered in Leinster’s loss to Glasgow in Pro14 on Friday.
Sinckler, a Lions tourist in New Zealand in 2017, will join the team after the Bristol Bears season ends.
The South West English club have qualified for the Premiership play-offs.
“It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our best wishes for a speedy and successful rehabilitation,” said Lions head coach Warren Gatland.
“Andrew is a young man with a great future ahead of him and I am sure he will be in contention again in four years.”
Sinckler was a surprise omission when Gatland named his home team in May, with the 28-year-old saying at the time: “I’m not going to lie – I’m emotional. At the moment it doesn’t make sense. . ”
But Gatland, who ran into trouble with Sinckler in Wales training, said: “As always in rugby, when there is an injury there is an opportunity for someone else.
“I was very happy to see the way Kyle reacted after being initially kicked off the tour.”
“He’s been showing excellent form lately and I hope he will continue to show me two fingers to get him out of the way in the first place.”
In the 37-man squad, Sinckler will compete for the close lead start with Irishman Tadhg Furlong and Scotsman Zander Fagerson.
The Lions meet in Jersey on June 13 to begin preparations for a warm-up game against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26.
They then travel to South Africa for an eight-game tour culminating with three tests against world champions Springboks in July and August.
Â© 2021 AFP