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Payne out of Lions opening tour match

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/06/2017 By Nick Purewal

Jared Payne has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions' opening tour match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians due to a calf strain.

The New Zealander, who has played 20 Tests for Ireland, will have to wait a while longer for his Lions debut in the land of his birth, with England's Elliot Daly taking a seat on the reserves bench in Whangarei.

Wasps winger Daly will also make his Lions debut if he joins the fray in Saturday's clash in Whangarei.

Payne, 31, played four seasons of NPC rugby for Northland before signing with Ulster in 2011 and eventually using residency laws to qualify for Ireland.

The former Chiefs and Crusaders player missed the majority of the second half of the domestic European season after suffering a lacerated kidney in Ireland's defeat of Australia last November.

Daly has emerged as a favourite of England head coach Eddie Jones and also impressed as Wasps charged all the way to the Premiership final.

Just like Payne, Daly can cover wing and fullback as well as centre, so his move onto the bench should not overly disrupt team planning.

Payne's challenge now will be to shake off an injury for which the severity is not yet known, in time to make full impact on the Lions' 10-match tour.

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