Rugby: Ben Youngs withdraws from Lions squad for family reasons

Ben Youngs has withdrawn from the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand for family reasons. Photo / Getty Images.
Ben Youngs has withdrawn from the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand for family reasons. Photo / Getty Images.

Ben Youngs has withdrawn from the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand for family reasons.

Leicester, Youngs' English club, said on Saturday the halfback made the decision after receiving the news that the wife of his brother, Tom, has terminal cancer.

She has been battling cancer for three years.

"We are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together," Ben Youngs said said.

He will still play the remainder of the season for Leicester, who have qualified for the English Premiership play-offs.

Tom Youngs scored a try for Leicester in their 28-23 win at Worcester on Saturday.

Ben Youngs was one of three halfbacks selected in the Lions' 41-man squad, along with Conor Murray and Rhys Webb. No replacement has been named for Youngs. Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is the favourite to come in.

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