England prop Kyle Sinckler has been called into the British and Irish Lions squad for this summer’s tour of South Africa in place of the injured Andrew Porter.
Ireland tighthead Porter has been ruled out of the series due to a toe problem sustained in Leinster’s PRO14 Rainbow Cup defeat to Glasgow on Friday.
Sinckler, a Lions tourist in New Zealand in 2017, will join up with Warren Gatland’s squad following the conclusion of Bristol’s domestic season, with his club having already qualified for the Gallagher Premiership play-offs.
We’re excited to welcome Kyle but are disappointed for Andrew & wish him the best of luck with his recovery from injury
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— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 6, 2021
Lions coach Gatland said in a statement: “It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a quick and successful rehab.
“Andrew is a young man with a big future ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again in four years’ time.
“As always in rugby, when there’s an injury there’s an opportunity for someone else. I have been very pleased to see the way Kyle has responded to initially being left out of the touring party.
“He’s showed some excellent form of late and I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me about leaving him out in the first place.”
We’re gutted for you, Andrew, but have no doubt you’ll bounce back stronger than ever. Wishing you a speedy recovery and we can’t wait to see you back in green soon 👊💚#TeamOfUs #ShoulderToShoulder pic.twitter.com/eZpCGJoSF8
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) June 6, 2021
The Lions are scheduled to assemble in Jersey on Sunday, June 13th to begin preparations for a match against Japan on June 26th at Murrayfield in Edinburgh.
Gatland’s men will then fly to South Africa where, following a series of warm-up matches, they are due to play Tests against the Springboks on July 24th in Cape Town and July 31st and August 7th in Johannesburg.
Sinckler came on as a replacement in each of the Lions’ three Tests during the drawn series against the All Blacks four years ago.
The 28-year-old’s initial omission came following England’s underwhelming display in this year’s Guinness Six Nations when Eddie Jones’ deposed champions finished second bottom.
Porter, who has 37 caps for Ireland, was preparing for his first Lions involvement.
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen joined Gatland in backing the 25-year-old to make amends for current frustration in the future.
“We are all bitterly disappointed for Ports. He has worked incredibly hard to get this opportunity and it was richly deserved,” Cullen told Leinster’s website.
“He is fortunate that he has youth on his side and will hopefully have another shot at a Lions tour again but that doesn’t take away from his disappointment now.
“Like everyone we wish him well with his recovery and look forward to seeing him back for Leinster next season.”