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Wade to join Lions squad

Christian Wade has been called up by the British and Irish Lions and withdrawn from the England side to play Argentina in Buenos Aires.

The Wasps wing, who made his Test debut in a 32-3 victory over the Pumas in Salta last weekend, has been replaced in the England team by Gloucester debutant Jonny May.

Wade is the third England player to be summoned to Australia from England's South American tour, following prop Alex Corbisiero and centre Billy Twelvetrees. The Lions have concerns over the fitness of wing George North, who has a tight hamstring, while centre Jamie Roberts suffered a leg injury in their victory over the NSW Waratahs.

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. 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."

Wade will depart Buenos Aires on Saturday night and arrive in Australia on Monday. The 22-year-old scored 18 tries in 26 appearances for Wasps last season and claimed a unique double at the Rugby Players' Association awards, winning both the players' player and the young player awards.

Wade did not score himself on his England debut last weekend but he had a hand in all three of the team's first-half tries, delivering an eye-catching performance in the process. He has been preferred to the likes of Chris Ashton, who has been rested from England's summer tour, and Scotland's Tim Visser to give the injury-hit Lions additional back line options.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said: "We have obviously got ongoing treatment of some players so it's prudent to make sure we have enough backline cover. Christian played well in the first Test against Argentina and is match fit."

There are unconfirmed reports that Saracens and England centre Brad Barritt is also set to join the Lions in Australia. South Africa-born Barritt, 26, would be the obvious injury cover for Roberts.

He was among a handful of players rested for England's current Argentina tour, being joined by the likes of Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Chris Ashton and Toby Flood. The Lions later said they were "exploring the call-up" of Barritt as cover. They added that a further update would be given a press conference, scheduled for 2350BST in Sydney.

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