England scrum-half Ben Youngs has ruled himself out of touring South Africa with the British and Irish Lions this summer.
Ben Youngs ruled himself out of the 2017 tour to New Zealand due to a family member’s illness and has again opted to remove himself from contention for the Lions this summer.
The Leicester Tigers player was speaking to the Daily Mail about his decision and revealed that he has again put his family ahead of playing for the Lions.
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Ben Youngs rules himself out of Lions tour.
“Whether or not I would have made the final cut, I’ll never know. I just want to make sure nothing is left open to interpretation,” Youngs started.
“After taking the decision not to go four years ago, my perspective is probably a bit different to a lot of the guys. I’ve got two young children and my wife is heavily pregnant with the third.
“This summer I’ve got an opportunity to be with my family and my kids. It’s been a busy couple of years, so I can also use the time to rest my body.”
Warren Gatland’s options at scrum-half
Lions head coach Warren Gatland isn’t exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to scrum-halves, as no number nine from England, Ireland, Scotland or Wales really stood out in this year’s Six Nations.
While England endured a tough championship, Youngs unavailability will come as a loss to Gatland, as he has been a consistent performer for Eddie Jones’ side and is currently the most-capped active scrum-half in the world.
Conor Murray started for the Lions in all three test matches against the All Blacks four years ago, but only featured in two of Ireland’s Six Nations matches this year due to injury.
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac started three different scrum-halves in his side’s successful Six Nations campaign, as again no number nine stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Scotland’s Ali Price had the most international game time of any of the potential Lions scrum-halves, other than Youngs, but has been rarely tipped to start against the Springboks this summer.
International outcast Danny Care has been in fine form for Harlequins recently, and Youngs’ withdrawal may see the Englishman travel to South Africa despite not playing for his country since 2018.