Rugby Union

Eddie Jones criticises Warren Gatland's choice of Lions additions to NZ tour

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Eddie Jones says ability should dictate who Warren Gatland adds to his British and Irish Lions squad in New Zealand, instead of where they are in the world.

Gatland is already under heavy criticism for his team’s style of play, and the addition of four more Welsh players to the squad has not gone down well with the England head coach.

Following Ross Moriaty's withdrawal from the squad with a back injury, Welshmen Kristian Dacey, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill and Gareth Davies have been selected to bolster Gatland's options.

All of the new addition players added to the squad featured in Wales' 24-6 victory over Tonga on Friday, and Gatland says it made sense to choose those who were closer.

“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,” the former Wales coach explained.

Wales are on tour in Australasia, while England are in Argentina, nevertheless, not everyone is buying Gatland's explanation and England's coach Jones was disappointed his players were overlooked.

“It’s only a 13-hour trip from here to New Zealand,” Jones told BBC Radio 5 live.

“The [England] boys could be there.

"The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a Lion, you're remembered for life.

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

The Lions came through their clash against the Maori All Blacks with a dominant 32-10 victory and now face just one more match against the Chiefs on Tuesday before the first Test in Auckland on June 24.

Scotland prop Allan Dell and fly-half Finn Russell will also join up with the Lions squad after they beat Australia in Sydney.

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New Zeland Rugby
England Rugby
Six Nations
Wales Rugby
Rugby Union
British & Irish Lions
Owen Farrell

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