Lions call in England flyhalf as injury cover

The British & Irish Lions have called England youngster Marcus Smith in to join their ongoing tour of South Africa as injury cover for Finn Russell.

Russell, who started against the Johannesburg Lions and was a replacement in the victory over the Sharks on Wednesday, is currently struggling with an achilles issue.

The Scotland flyhalf was ruled out of the rematch with the Sharks, after initially being named on the bench for the match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. His place there has been taken by Ireland centre Bundee Aki.

However, the injury is bad enough to have prompted Lions head coach Warren Gatland to call in England’s Smith, who only recently made his Test debut against the USA last weekend at Twickenham.

The 22-year-old was a Premiership champion after guiding Harlequins to victories over Bristol and Exeter in the semi-final and final, respectively.

Smith’s call-up comes ahead of Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, who toured with the Lions in Australia in 2013 and New Zealand in 2017, and England teammate George Ford.

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack