Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Lions bring in Barritt and Wade

Brad Barritt, pictured, will join Christian Wade as a late call-up for the Lions
Brad Barritt, pictured, will join Christian Wade as a late call-up for the Lions

England duo Christian Wade and Brad Barritt have been called up to reinforce the injury-hit British and Irish Lions squad in Australia.

Wade's summons came just hours before he was due to win his second England cap and he was withdrawn from the team, with Jonny May given his debut against Argentina.

With Jamie Roberts becoming the latest injury concern, the Lions then announced Barritt, who was rested from England's summer tour of South America, will fly from the United States and link up with the squad in Sydney on Monday before they travel to Canberra.

Roberts suffered a leg injury against the New South Wales Waratahs and the Lions also have concerns over wings George North and, it is rumoured, Alex Cuthbert. Wade, who made his England debut in last weekend's 32-3 victory over Argentina in Salta, has been preferred to Chris Ashton and Scotland's Tim Visser to provide the Lions with additional back-line options.

The 22-year-old scored 18 tries in 26 appearances for Wasps last season and won a unique double at the Rugby Players' Association awards, winning both the players' player and the young player awards.

"My reaction is definitely one of massive shock," Wade said before heading off to the airport in Buenos Aires.

"I never thought I'd be called up to go but I'm massively delighted and honoured to be selected. It's all coming flooding over me. It's happened so fast in the last few weeks - the awards, playing at Twickenham, winning my first cap for England in Argentina and then getting the call for the Lions."

Wade is the third England player to be called up from England's tour of South America, following Alex Corbisiero and Billy Twelvetrees on the route from Buenos Aires, via Santiago and Auckland, to Australia.

England coach Stuart Lancaster said: "We're delighted for Christian. He's been in excellent form, played really well on his Test debut against Argentina last weekend and he goes with the best wishes of all the England players and management.

"Jonny May comes into the side to win his first cap against the Pumas today. He's been an important part of our squad over the last four weeks, he's up to speed with everything we're doing and this is a great opportunity for him."

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