DURBAN, June 10 – Wales' captain Ryan Jones was called up to the British and Irish Lions squad on Tuesday after it was revealed Irish Six Nations Grand Slam-winning flanker Stephen Ferris would take no further part because of a knee injury.
Jones original non-selection had been a controversial one despite losing some of the form that he displayed when he led Wales to the Grand Slam in 2008.
However, Ferris’ knee injury – which he suffered on Monday in a training session means that Jones, who was also called up as a replacement for the previous Lions tour to New Zealand where he played all three tests, does now earn a late call-up ahead of the three test series with world champions South Africa.
"Ryan Jones has been called up to replace Stephen Ferris who unfortunately sustained a knee injury during Monday afternoon’s training," announced Lions coach Ian McGeechan.
"He twisted his right knee in a training drill and following a medical assessment it was decided that he should undergo a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
"He had the scan on Tuesday morning that showed he had a grade two tear to his medial collateral ligament.
"This usually requires a four to six week recovery period and is severe enough to mean he will miss the rest of the tour.
"Therefore with six matches left on tour after Wednesday’s match against the Sharks we believe we need to fly out a replacement as cover for the backrow."
Jones sympathised with Ferris but admitted he was delighted to have been called on.
"I am delighted to have received this call-up and I am just really looking forward to joining the squad later this week," said Jones, who takes the number of Welsh players in the squad to 14.
"Obviously it is disappointing for Stephen Ferris who is a superb player and I wish him a quick and full recovery from his injury.
"I am anxious to help the Lions in any way I can and I recognise how this is a great honour for me and my family."
The Lions play their next match of the tour against kwaZulu-Natal Sharks here on Wednesday.