British and Irish Lions: 'Warren Gatland should add on merit'

Wales quartet Gareth Davies, Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey and Tomas Francis
Wales quartet Gareth Davies, Cory Hill, Kristian Dacey and Tomas Francis have joined up with the Lions

Warren Gatland should add players to the British and Irish Lions squad in New Zealand based on "merit rather than geographical proximity", England head coach Eddie Jones says.

Lions boss Gatland has added six players to the squad who were on tour with Wales or Scotland in Australasia.

England are playing in Argentina and Jones said: "It's only a 13-hour trip from here to New Zealand."

Meanwhile, the injured Ross Moriarty will miss the rest of the Lions tour.

Wales flanker Moriarty has not featured since the tour opener against the Provincial Barbarians because of a back injury.

"He has had a hugely impressive season, it is disappointing to see injury cut his tour short," said Gatland.

The Lions beat the Maori All Blacks 32-10 on Saturday and next face the Chiefs on Tuesday before the first Test in Auckland on 24 June, with Gatland wanting extra players to ensure none of the Test squad have to play twice in a week.

Welsh quartet Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Gareth Davies were called up after featuring in Wales' 24-6 victory over Tonga in Auckland on Friday.

Scotland prop Allan Dell and fly-half Finn Russell were then added to the Lions squad following Scotland's 24-19 defeat of Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

"Bringing in these players from an identical time zone, who can hit the ground running and step straight in rather than having to adjust following long-haul travel, will help us manage players before the first Test, give us quality training numbers to prepare properly, as well as offering us options for selection for the Chiefs match," Gatland said.

Jones' squad are preparing for England's second Test in Argentina, which is in a different time zone and may have counted against England players in Gatland's eyes.

"The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a Lion, you're remembered for life," Jones told BBC Radio 5 live.

"My only comment would be, I would like to see it picked on merit rather than geographical proximity."

Lions fly-half Owen Farrell missed Saturday's big win over the Maori and may miss the first Test against the All Blacks after suffering a quadriceps injury in training, while full-back Stuart Hogg has left the tour with a facial injury.

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