Ben Youngs pulls out of Lions squad for family reasons

LEICESTER, England (AP) Ben Youngs has withdrawn from the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand for family reasons.

Leicester, Youngs’ English club, said on Saturday the scrumhalf made the decision after receiving the news that the wife of his brother, Tom, has terminal cancer. She has been battling cancer for three years.

Ben Youngs said ”we are a very close family and, as I am sure everyone can respect, time is now precious together.”

He will still play the remainder of the season for Leicester, which has qualified for the English Premiership playoffs. Tom Youngs scored a try for Leicester in its 28-23 win at Worcester on Saturday.

Ben Youngs was one of three scrumhalves selected in the Lions’ 41-man squad, along with Conor Murray and Rhys Webb.

He has been replaced by Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw.