Ben Youngs withdraws from British and Irish Lions squad for family reasons

Youngs was one of three scrum halves on the plane to New Zealand

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The Independent Online

Leicester Tigers and England scrum-half Ben Youngs has ruled himself out of the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand this summer for personal reasons.

The wife of Youngs’ brother, hooker Tom, who was also on the 2013 tour of Australia, has been battling cancer for three years and now the family has received news that her illness is terminal.

Youngs was included in Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad face the All Blacks this summer but this weekend formed the Lions head coach of his decision to remain at home with his family.

In a statement on Leicester Tigers’ website, Youngs said: “We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together.

“The most important thing for me at this difficult time is to be able to offer as much support as I can to Tom and his family in the remaining time we all have together.

“It is a great honour to be selected as a member of the British & Irish Lions squad and I would like to thank Warren Gatland, the staff and the other players for their understanding in this situation.

“I wish them well and, like all rugby supporters in British and Ireland, hope they have a successful tour.”

The brothers will continue to play for Leicester in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals for the remainder of the season.