You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Injured Vunipola pulls out of Lions tour

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/05/2017

Billy Vunipola of Saracens goes down injured during the Aviva Premiership semi final match between Exeter Chiefs and Saracens © Steve Bardens/Getty Images Billy Vunipola of Saracens goes down injured during the Aviva Premiership semi final match between Exeter Chiefs and Saracens Billy Vunipola has been forced to withdraw from the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand with injury.

The powerhouse Saracens No.8 has been trying to manage the injury but has conceded it will require further treatment, robbing the Lions of potentially one of their most influential players.

Wasps back row forward James Haskell has been called into the squad by coach Warren Gatland.

"It is really disappointing for Billy and we know how much he was looking forward to joining the squad," Gatland said.

"He has been carrying an injury and feels he wouldn't be able to contribute fully to the Tour and needs further medical treatment.

"We really appreciate his honesty in making this decision and wish him luck with his recovery."

The 24-year-old Vunipola had been looking forward to joining his brother and Saracens team-mate Mako on the plane to New Zealand.

Haskell had been named in the England squad to travel to Argentina this summer and his call-up leaves Eddie Jones short of numbers, with 15 of his players on Lions duty.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon