Ireland hooker Ronan Kelleher is set to join England fly-half Marcus Smith in being called up to Warren Gatland’s Lions squad in South Africa.
Kelleher spent two weeks training with the Lions at their pre-tour camp in Jersey and is believed to have left Gatland and his coaching staff very impressed.
While it’s not thought that any of the Lions hookers – Jamie George, Ken Owens, and Luke Cowan-Dickie – are currently injured, it appears that Gatland is keen to bring Kelleher on board for the last part of the tour in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Marcus Smith will join up with the British and Irish Lions squad in South Africa as cover for Scotland’s Finn Russell.
“I thought I was being told off, had made a mistake or done something wrong,” said Harlequins star Smith.
“But they shared the news I was flying out tomorrow which was special news to hear and I had to get my breath back because I was massively overwhelmed. I had no clue.”
Sir Ian McGeechan leaves Curry and Hogg out of his Lions XV
15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 11 Josh Adams
McGeechan said: ” I have three players in the back [Adams, Watson, Liam Williams] who on any counter-attack or under high balls – which I think will happen a lot, South Africa tactically kicking from nine and 10 in the first Test – are solid.
“Van der Merwe won’t be far away, but I think you need the players who can deal with what South Africa put out there.
“If South Africa get their kicking wrong, then watch out, because there’s a back-three there who can actually turn half-chances into full chances.”
13 Chris Harris, 12 Owen Farrell
McGeechan said: “”Owen Farrell is a Test match animal. I wouldn’t go far without him to be honest. And having him gives you that second decision-maker and somebody to step in between the two of them.
“Harris is a very good defensive player. He’s a defensive captain, knows Steve Tandy well, knows the systems and did very well for Scotland.”