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Gatland calls in Welsh quartet

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/06/2017

Coach Warren Gatland has added four Welsh players to his British and Irish Lions squad as they prepare for the three-Test series against the All Blacks.

Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey, Gareth Davies and Tomas Francis will join the squad following their 24-6 Test win over Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

"We have said all along that we need to give ourselves the best chance of winning the Test series and that could potentially involve calling up players," Gatland said.

Bringing in players from an identical time zone meant they could step straight into action without having to adjust following long-haul travel, he added.

"That will help us manage players before the first Test, give us quality training numbers to prepare properly as well as offering us options for selection for the Chiefs match."

The Welsh quartet will join the Lions in Rotorua ahead of their match against the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.

The Lions have already lost fullback Stuart Hogg, who has returned home with a fractured cheekbone, while first five-eighth Owen Farrell has a thigh strain.

Gatland said he had spoken to all the home union coaches prior to the team's departure for New Zealand, and all had been supportive.

A further announcement regarding call-ups is expected after this weekend's home union Tests. Scotland play Australia in Sydney, England meet Argentina in Santa Fe and Ireland play Japan in Shizuoka.

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