Richie Gray out of Scotland tour with back issue


A back complaint has ruled Richie Gray out of Scotland's June tour and ended hopes of a late call-up to the British and Irish Lions.

Lock Gray was not included in Warren Gatland's initial 41-man squad for the series in New Zealand, but was believed to be a leading candidate to replace any injury withdrawals.

However, the back issue that has lingered since a recent illness means the 27-year-old will miss the matches against Italy, Australia and Fiji. No replacement has been announced.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend said: "Richie has been unable to do much training since the Six Nations because of his back issues so it became quickly evident he wouldn't be able to play Test match rugby this summer.

"It was valuable having him in camp last week, spending time with the new coaching group, and we wish him well with his recovery and getting back to full fitness for next season."

Scotland have been dealt another blow with Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, called up as an understudy for Henry Pyrgos following Greig Laidlaw's Lions selection, sustaining a hamstring tear.

Hidalgo-Clyne has been replaced by uncapped Edinburgh scrum-half Sean Kennedy.