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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

Greig Laidlaw added to Lions squad after Ben Youngs' withdrawal

The 31-year-old scrum-half joins fellow Scots Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in the squad.

GREIG LAIDLAW HAS been added to the Lions squad after the withdrawal of Ben Youngs due to family reasons.

England scrum-half Youngs was named in Warren Gatland’s initial 41-man squad but this evening confirmed that he would pull out of the tour to New Zealand.

Greig Laidlaw Laidlaw has been called up by the Lions. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The wife of Ben’s older brother Tom, the Leicester and England hooker, has been suffering with cancer for three years and the family have recently received news that the illness is terminal.

Lions boss Gatland shared his support for the Youngs family.

“We fully understand and respect Ben’s decision to stay at home,” said Gatland. “Family comes first and I know from having toured with Tom and Ben in 2013 how close they are.

“This is a difficult and important time for them and we send Ben, Tom and their family our heartfelt thoughts.”

The Lions have confirmed that Scotland scrum-half Laidlaw will join the touring party in Youngs’ place, bringing to three the number of Scots involved.

Gatland had initially named only Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in his Lions squad, but Laidlaw will now compete with Conor Murray and Rhys Webb for the scrum-half role.

It will be 31-year-old Laidlaw’s first Lions involvement and he will hope to make an impact before making a move from Gloucester to Top 14 side Clermont ahead of next season.

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Murray Kinsella

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