The Reason James Ryan Wasn’t Called Up To The Lions Becomes Apparent Following AWJ Injury

Out of contention.

When it was confirmed yesterday afternoon that Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones was forced to pull out of the squad after dislocating his shoulder – attention turned to who would replace the second-row.

A number of names were put forward but the obvious choice seemed to be Ireland and Leinster lock, James Ryan. The 24-year-old was unlucky to miss out on being selected in the original squad and seemed to be the best candidate to fill Jones’ boots.

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True his form has been where he would want it this season but a fit and firing James Ryan is a serious acquisition for any squad in world rugby. But Gatland surprised us all when he decided to go with Welsh second-row Adam Beard instead.

Of course, there was immediate speculation that Gatland has some sort of “vendetta” against the Irishman and complaints that the former Wales boss decided to stick to calling up two Welsh players (Josh Navidi was also called up to replace Justin Tipuric).

Well, you can put your pitchforks away Ireland fans. It turns out Ryan is after picking up an injury in training, with the Irish Independent reporting that Ryan picked up a “strain” in training, ruling him out of a potential call-up by Gatland.

Ryan was due to captain Ireland against Japan and the USA this month but now looks set to miss both those games as he recovers from this setback. A blow for the youngster but given his age, there’s nothing stopping him from finally wearing the red jersey in 2025.

Question marks are still hanging over Gatland’s decision to call up Beard though, with Scotland’s Jonny Gray perhaps a better option. Only time will tell. But we wish Beard the best of luck. No doubt he’ll go out to South Africa with something to prove.