Ben Youngs pulls out of Lions tour in response to family illness

• Wife of Youngs’ team-mate and brother Tom diagnosed with terminal cancer
• Scotland’s Greig Laidlaw called up to replace scrum-half for New Zealand trip

Devastating family news has led the Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs to withdraw from next month’s British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand. The England international made the decision after it was discovered that the wife of his brother and team-mate, Tom, has terminal cancer.

“We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together,” said Ben in a statement issued by the Tigers after the club secured a Premiership play-off spot with a 28-23 victory at Worcester. “The most important thing for me at this difficult time is to be able to offer as much support as I can to Tom and his family in the remaining time we all have together.

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