Finn Russell will miss the next three scheduled matches for the Lions in South Africa with an Achilles issue meaning that he won’t be in contention to play for the tourists again before the week of the first Test of their three-match series against the world champions Springboks on 24th July.
Harlequins stand-off Marcus Smith has been called up to the squad as injury cover. The 22-year-old, who played 66 minutes for England against Canada yesterday, kicking nine conversions in a 70-14 win, will fly out to South Africa later today.
“We’re obviously disappointed for Finn, who I think has been outstanding since he came into camp in Jersey, but we are optimistic he’ll still play an important role in the Tour,” said head coach Warren Gatland.
“We have two experienced fly halves in Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar, so it’s a great opportunity for the continued development of Marcus.
“I’ve been following him closely for the past 12 months and I’ve been impressed with how well he’s matured as a player.
“Finn and Marcus are similar in that they like to play with a bit of freedom, so, for me, it’s as close to a like-for-like cover as we can get. We look forward to welcoming him to the group in Cape Town.”