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Rory Best called up after Hartley ban

Ulster hooker Rory Best has been called up for the British & Irish Lions tour to Australia after Dylan Hartley was banned for 11 weeks by the RFU.

Dylan Hartley was given an 11 week ban for being found guilty of verbally abusing the match referee Wayne Barnes in the Aviva Premiership final on Saturday.

Ireland international Best was expected to be named in the original squad and it was a surprise when his name was not announced in the original touring party.  He will now join up with the squad today ahead of flying out to Hong Kong to prepare for the first match of the tour against the Barbarians on Saturday.

Best said “It was hard when I didn’t make the initial squad because it is everyone’s ambition to play for the Lions, but to be selected now is a massive honour.

“To be finally selected makes playing professional rugby worthwhile and makes up for the feeling I had a few weeks ago when I thought the chance had gone.”

The first match of the tour takes place on Saturday 1st June against the Barbarians in Hong Kong.

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