British and Irish Lions 2017: Ross Moriarty ruled out of the rest of the tour of New Zealand back back injury

The Welsh back-row has not played since the opening game of the tour and will head home after the Lions game against the Maori All Blacks

Jack de Menezes
Rotorua
Saturday 17 June 2017 06:50
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Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour with injury
Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the British and Irish Lions tour with injury

Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour after failing to recover from the back injury that he suffered following the opening match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.

The Wales loose-forward started the opening game in Whangerei but was forced off midway in the second half, with head coach Warren Gatland revealing afterwards that he was suffering from back spasms and that spending “five hours” the day before in a the back of a car while the Lions squad fulfilled community commitments did little to help his fitness.

After announcing that four Wales players are to join up with the squad following their victory over Auckland on Friday – with two more to come from Scotland after Saturday’s match with the Maori All Blacks – the Lions announced that Moriarty will travel home for further treatment on a “nerve injury” and will not take any further part in the tour of New Zealand.

Lions video diary day 14

“It has been my dream since I was able to understand what rugby was to play for the British and Irish Lions,” Moriarty said.

“Rugby is a huge part of mine and my family’s life and I’m hugely honoured to have been able to pull on the famous jersey and be part of this group and this tour.

“I feel becoming a Lion was reward for all the people who have helped me get to this stage in my career and I have really enjoyed the experience.

“I wish all the boys the best and I’ll be supporting them on fully from back home.”

Extra attention will now be put on Gatland’s comments after the win over the Provincial Barbarians, given Gatland appeared to blame an off-pitch event for Moriarty’s injury.

“A couple of guys got back spasms,” Gatland said back on 3 June. “Ross Moriarty has got a back spasm, and so has Kyle Sinkler. We’ve done community stuff yesterday where the guys have been sitting in cars for five hours, coming up (to Whangarei) and probably still recovering from the effects of that flight as well.”

The news caps a disruptive day for the Lions before they have even kicked off against the Maori, with four call-ups to the squad seeing prop Tomas Francis, hooker Kristian Dacey, lock Cory Hill and scrum-half Gareth Davies all brought into the squad for Tuesday’s match against the Chiefs.

Extra attention is being put on Gatland's comments earlier in the tour

Gatland is also expected to add two more players following the match, expected to be fly-half Finn Russell and prop Allen Dell, but he wanted to pay tribute to Moriarty’s season with Gloucester that led to his call-up. “We are really disappointed for Ross,” he said.

“He has had a hugely impressive season, capped off with selection for The British & Irish Lions and his performance in the first match justified that selection.

“It is disappointing to see injury cut short his Tour but we wish him all the best with his recovery.”

Hogg was ruled out of the tour earlier in the week

Moriarty becomes the second player to be ruled out of the tour since the squad arrived in New Zealand and the fourth from the original 41-man squad, following the departure of Stuart Hogg earlier this week due to a facial injury. Both Billy Vunipola and Ben Youngs pulled out of the squad before they left the United Kingdom, the former through a shoulder injury and the latter due to family reasons.

The Lions have confirmed that with the new additions on Saturday, a replacement would not be called up for Moriarty, with both Iain Henderson and Maro Itoje able to cover the back-row if needed.

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