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British & Irish Lions
Wade and Barritt called up by Lions
ESPN Staff
June 15, 2013
England winger Christian Wade injects some pace into an attack, England v Barbarians, Twickenham, May 26, 2013
Christian Wade has been withdrawn from the England side that is set to face Argentina later today © Getty Images

England winger Christian Wade and centre Brad Barritt have both been called up to the British & Irish Lions squad in Australia.

Wade, who only made his Test debut in a 32-3 victory over the Pumas in Salta last weekend, has been drafted in by Lions coach Warren Gatland due to on-going injury concerns surrounding Wales' George North. The 22-year-old was set to face the Pumas in Buenos Aires on Saturday night but has been withdrawn from the side and instead will leave for Australia and arrive on Monday.

Barritt, who was rested for the tour of Argentina having missed out on the original Lions squad, has been enlisted after Wales centre Jamie Roberts suffered an injury in the victory over the Waratahs earlier today and will head to Australia from the USA where he was on holiday.

Gatland said: "We have obviously got ongoing treatment of some players so it's prudent to make sure we have enough backline cover. Christian played well in the 1st Test against Argentina and is match fit."

Wade, who scored 18 tries in 26 appearances for Wasps last season and claimed a unique double at the Rugby Players' Association awards, winning both the players' player and the young player awards, is the third player to be called up from England's South American tour, following prop Alex Corbisiero and centre Billy Twelvetrees and appears to have been favoured to Chris Ashton, who has been rested from England's summer tour, and Scotland's Tim Visser who also missed out on the original Lions squad.

"My reaction is definitely one of massive shock," Wade told PA Sport before heading off to the airport in Buenos Aires. "I never thought I'd be called up to go but I'm massively delighted and honoured to be selected. It's all coming flooding over me. It's happened so fast in the last few weeks - the awards, playing at Twickenham, winning my first cap for England in Argentina and then getting the call for the Lions. Some of the stuff I wouldn't have dared to dream of.

"It's hard to take in but I need to step back and be humble and appreciate the work and effort that everyone's put into helping me, my support network, my family, the coaches at Wasps and here at England who have put that faith in me and the Lions coaches also for calling me up.

"There's a game Tuesday night but I'm not sure whether I'll be involved," Wade said. "I'm happy to be going and just looking forward to going out and gain as much experience as possible. If I can get some game time I hope to go out and do my thing. In the sport we play there are always opportunities. You can probably go from fifth choice to first choice.

"You've just always got to be prepared. I've always said that opportunities don't come round very often, you've got to take them with both hands. If I did get the opportunity to play in a midweek game or a Test I'd have to take that with both hands and make the most of it."

England coach Stuart Lancaster, who has drafted uncapped Gloucester wing Jonny May into his side to face Argentina at the Velez Sarsfield, commented: "We're delighted for Christian. He's been in excellent form, played really well on his Test debut against Argentina last weekend and he goes with the best wishes of all the England players and management.

"Jonny May comes into the side to win his first cap against the Pumas today. He's been an important part of our squad over the last four weeks, he's up to speed with everything we're doing and this is a great opportunity for him."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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