Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy has been called up to the Lions squad in South Africa.
He is being summoned as cover for injuries amongst some of the backs already on tour (such as Keith Earls and Riki Flutey), though no players will be returning home – bringing the touring party up to 38.
D’Arcy toured with the Lions in New Zealand in 2005, playing in six provincial games, and also earned a Lions Test cap against Argentina prior to that tour. D’Arcy’s inclusion comes off of the back of a starring role in Leinster’s Heineken Cup win, Ireland’s Grand Slam win, and more recently, the demolition of England by the Barbarians.
Lions head coach Ian McGeehcan said: “Gordon has been called up due to the fact that we have had a few injury concerns in the backs. While the injuries are being treated by the medical team we felt it prudent that we call up Gordon to provide us with extra cover in midfield.
“Due to the short nature of this tour we have to be prepared for every eventuality. An extra back at this stage, three matches into the tour, will provide the extra depth to cover the existing injuries plus any further injuries we may encounter.
“Gordon showed in the European Rugby Cup final and the recent Barbarians match against England that he is back to his best.
“He was on our reserve list and we had no hesitation in calling him up to the squad as he is an extremely experienced player who has played 41 times for his country.
“He was also a British and Irish Lion on the 2005 tour to New Zealand where he played six provincial matches. He earned a Lions’ Test cap in the match against Argentina in Cardiff prior to that tour.
“His partnership with Brian O’Driscoll for Leinster and Ireland is a proven one and can only benefit the Lions’ squad here in South Africa.”