England’s Kyle Sinckler has been called up to Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad in place of injured Ireland prop Andrew Porter.
Porter suffered a toe injury in Leinster’s loss to Glasgow in Friday night’s Rainbow Cup encounter, and has been ruled out of this summer’s Lions tour as a result.
Sinckler, who was a surprise omission from the original Lions squad, will take the Irishman’s place for next month’s tour to South Africa.
We’re excited to welcome Kyle but are disappointed for Andrew & wish him the best of luck with his recovery from injury
Read more below…
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 6, 2021
‘I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me.’
Gatland expressed his sympathies with Porter, as well as saying he hopes Sinckler will continue to prove him wrong for leaving him out of the squad in the first place.
“It’s really bad luck for Andrew and we send him our very best wishes for a quick and successful rehab,” Gatland said.
“Andrew is a young man with a big future ahead of him and I’m sure he’ll be in contention again in four years time.
“As always in rugby, when there’s an injury there’s an opportunity for someone else. I have been very pleased to see the way Kyle has responded to initially being left out of the touring party.
“He’s showed some excellent form of late and I hope he continues to stick two fingers up to me about leaving him out in the first place.”
Ecstasy for Sinckler, agony for Porter.
Sinckler, who toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2017, gave an emotional interview shortly after the naming of the original squad, where he explained just how much the Lions meant to him.
The Bristol Bears prop played well during a difficult Six Nations campaign for England, and has continued to impress for his club in recent weeks in the Gallagher Premiership.
While there is surely ecstasy for Sinckler, there is also great disappointment for Porter, who has been a stand out player for both Leinster and Ireland in recent years.
Everyone in Leinster Rugby wishes @AindriuPorter a speedy recovery from a toe injury.
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) June 6, 2021
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was speaking about Porter’s season-ending injury and backed his player to be in contention for the Lions again in four years.
“We are all bitterly disappointed for Ports. He has worked incredibly hard to get this opportunity and it was richly deserved,” Cullen commented.
“He is fortunate that he has youth on his side and will hopefully have another shot at a Lions tour again but that doesn’t take away from his disappointment now.
“Like everyone we wish him well with his recovery and look forward to seeing him back for Leinster next season.”