x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ireland centre D'Arcy called up by Lions

Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy has been called up to the British & Irish Lions squad.

Gordon D'Arcy runs in a try for the Barbarians against England, the Irish and Leinster centre has been in excellent form of late.
Gordon D'Arcy runs in a try for the Barbarians against England, the Irish and Leinster centre has been in excellent form of late.

JOHANNESBURG // Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy has been called up to the British & Irish Lions squad. One of the stars of Ireland's long-awaited Six Nations triumph, D'Arcy was initially left out of Ian McGeechan's line-up but will now add his experience to the squad and joins up on Thursday with a chance of facing the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday. "Due to the short nature of this tour we have to be prepared for every eventuality," head coach Ian McGeechan said on Wednesday. "An extra back at this stage, three matches into the tour, will provide the extra depth to cover the existing injuries plus any further injuries we may encounter. "Gordon showed in the European Rugby Cup final (for Leinster) and the recent Barbarians match against England that he is back to his best. He was on our reserve list and we had no hesitation in calling him up to the squad as he is an extremely experienced player who has played 41 times for his country." D'Arcy, whose partnership with Brian O'Driscoll has helped Ireland's revival, was also on the 2005 tour of New Zealand. The Lions, who face the Golden Lions at Ellis Park later Wednesday in their second tour game, lost Wales centre Tom Shanklin to a shoulder injury before the tour started and have several players nursing minor problems. The team beat a Royal XV 37-24 on their opening game on Saturday after trailing by 12 points. The Lions face world champion South Africa in three tests at Durban (June 20), Pretoria (June 27) and Johannesburg (July 4) and are considered underdogs. * AP