Ross Moriarty has been ruled out of the rest of the British and Irish Lions tour after failing to recover from the back injury that he suffered following the opening match against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians.
The Wales loose-forward started the opening game in Whangerei but was forced off midway in the second half, with head coach Warren Gatland revealing afterwards that he was suffering from back spasms and that spending “five hours” the day before in a the back of a car while the Lions squad fulfilled community commitments did little to help his fitness.
After announcing that four Wales players are to join up with the squad following their victory over Auckland on Friday – with two more to come from Scotland after Saturday’s match with the Maori All Blacks – the Lions announced that Moriarty will travel home for further treatment on a “nerve injury” and will not take any further part in the tour of New Zealand.
“It has been my dream since I was able to understand what rugby was to play for the British and Irish Lions,” Moriarty said.
“Rugby is a huge part of mine and my family’s life and I’m hugely honoured to have been able to pull on the famous jersey and be part of this group and this tour.
“I feel becoming a Lion was reward for all the people who have helped me get to this stage in my career and I have really enjoyed the experience.
“I wish all the boys the best and I’ll be supporting them on fully from back home.”
British and Irish Lions player ratings vs Maori All Blacks
Extra attention will now be put on Gatland’s comments after the win over the Provincial Barbarians, given Gatland appeared to blame an off-pitch event for Moriarty’s injury.
“A couple of guys got back spasms,” Gatland said back on 3 June. “Ross Moriarty has got a back spasm, and so has Kyle Sinkler. We’ve done community stuff yesterday where the guys have been sitting in cars for five hours,…