Scotland's Blair called up to Lions squad

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The Independent Online

Scotland scrumhalf Mike Blair was selected today in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa as a replacement for Ireland's Tomas O'Leary, who broke his ankle.

The 28-year-old Scotland captain has played 58 times for his country and was on the Lions reserve list for the tour, which starts 30 May and includes three tests against world champions South Africans.

O'Leary, a member of the Irish side that won the Six Nations this season and completed their first Grand Slam since 1948, broke his ankle last month while playing for his club Munster.

"Sport can be very cruel. One minute, Tomas was celebrating his well-earned call-up to the Lions tour to South Africa, the next he is being carried off injured while playing for Munster against Llanelli Scarlets in Cork," Lions coach Ian McGeechan said. "The selectors and I have had plenty of time to review the situation in terms of a replacement scrumhalf and were in agreement that Mike Blair should replace Tomas. He was on our reserve list for such an eventuality.

"Mike is an excellent addition to the British and Irish Lions squad. As a national captain, he is well respected by his peers and his 58 tests for Scotland mark him as a very capable and experienced scrumhalf."