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Ben Youngs rules himself out of British and Irish Lions tour

Ben Youngs rules himself out of British and Irish Lions tour
© Reuters
The 31-year-old was reportedly one of more than 50 players to have been sent a 'save-the-date' letter from Lions coach Warren Gatland.

England scrum-half Ben Youngs has ruled himself out of contention for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa this summer for family reasons.

The 31-year-old was reportedly one of more than 50 players to have been sent a 'save-the-date' letter from Lions coach Warren Gatland.

However, Youngs has opted to remove himself from consideration.

Ben and older brother Tom Youngs celebrate the Lions series win in Sydney in 2013
Ben and older brother Tom Youngs celebrate the Lions series win in Sydney in 2013 (David Davies/PA)

"Whether or not I would have made the final cut, I'll never know," Youngs told the Daily Mail.

"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.

"I have always loved the Lions. I'll be cheering them on, and I wish everyone involved a healthy and successful tour.

"It's not a decision that I've taken lightly, but it's the best decision for my family."

Gatland is set to name his 36-man squad and captain on Thursday, but a revised itinerary for South Africa made necessary by the coronavirus pandemic has yet to be published.

The Lions have a historic warm-up match against Japan scheduled at Murrayfield on June 26.

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England's Ben Youngs pictured in October 2020
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ChinaChina22131247
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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