Wales fuel talk of Lions reinforcements

Warren Gatland (Getty)
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Auckland - Wales further fuelled speculation on Friday that the British and Irish Lions are about to call for reinforcements on the tour of New Zealand by saying they were waiting for the call to send players.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland has not commented on the possibility he wants extra players, first raised by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen suggesting New Zealand had inside knowledge of what is happening in the tourists' camp.

Lions assistant coach Steve Borthwick would only say if there are to be call ups it would be "dealt with at the appropriate time when the announcement is going to be made".

The Lions have already lost Stuart Hogg for the rest of the tour with a facial injury and Courtney Lawes and Owen Farrell injured.

Wales, already in New Zealand, would be an obvious starting point for extra players and coach Robin McBryde said he is waiting for the phone call from Gatland.

"We weren't short-sighted enough to think we would come all the way to the other side of the world and not support the Lions if the call comes and that's what it is," he said after Wales beat Tonga 24-6 in Auckland on Friday.

"We are one of the nations that are involved in the British and Irish Lions so if we can support them then we'll help them out."

Wales already have 12 players plus coach Gatland with the Lions, and Wales captain Jamie Roberts said they have the depth if more players are required.

"If we lose some players we will have to adapt accordingly. We have a squad of 32. Some players missed out today and if we lose a few, others will get an opportunity," said Roberts who was on the last two Lions tours to Australia and South Africa.

"We have to develop our strength in depth across the senior playing group in this Welsh squad... and if we lost some, we have the artillery to come in."

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