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Ross Moriarty ruled out of remainder of Lions tour with back injury

The Wales back row was injured in the opening game of the tour.

Murray Kinsella reports from Rotorua

WALES BACK ROW Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the remainder of the Lions tour of New Zealand due to a back injury.

The 23-year-old sustained what the Lions are calling a “nerve injury” in the opening game of the tour against the Provincial Barbarians, with Warren Gatland pointing to the fact that his players had travelled to Whangarei via jeeps as having led to the problem.

Ross Moriarty Moriarty is heading home. Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Speaking after the win over the Barbarians, Gatland stated that both Moriarty and Kyle Sinckler had suffered back spasms as a result of that means of travel.

“A couple of guys got back spasms,” said Gatland at the time. “Ross Moriarty has got a back spasm, and so has Kyle Sinckler.

“We’ve done community stuff yesterday where the guys have been sitting in cars for five hours, coming up [to Whangarei] and probably still recovering from the effects of that flight as well.”

Moriarty had returned to running in training in the past week but his back issue has not recovered sufficiently and he will now depart New Zealand, with Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg having already flown home due to a facial fracture.

The Lions have added six players to their touring party, but none of them are back rows and there are no plans to call up another player to replace Moriarty.

Gatland is thought to be content that he has enough back row cover in his squad, with Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony, Taulupe Faletau, CJ Stander, Justin Tipuric, captain Sam Warburton, James Haskell and Maro Itoje providing back row options.

Moriarty had an excellent game against the Provincial Barbarians two weeks ago and some had even tipped the powerful Gloucester back row to force his way into the Test 23 to face the All Blacks.

He now departs without having had a real shot at convincing Gatland of his qualities, however, as the Lions lose another player to injury.

Ross Moriarty Moriarty only had one appearance on tour. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

“We are really disappointed for Ross,” said Gatland. “He has had a hugely impressive season, capped off with selection for The British & Irish Lions and his performance in the first match justified that selection.

“It is disappointing to see injury cut short his Tour but we wish him all the best with his recovery.”

Moriarty will be hoping to feature on the next Lions tour in 2021, but he is disappointed to be heading home this time.

“It has been my dream since I was able to understand what rugby was to play for the British & Irish Lions,” said Moriarty.

“Rugby is a huge part of mine and my family’s life and I’m hugely honoured to have been able to pull on the famous jersey and be part of this group and this tour.

“I feel becoming a Lion was reward for all the people who have helped me get to this stage in my career and I have really enjoyed the experience.

“I wish all the boys the best and I’ll be supporting them on fully from back home.”

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