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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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Joe Launchbury during England training on February 20, 2019
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