British & Lions flanker Lewis Moody has been forced to withdraw from the starting line-up for Saturday’s clash against Otago in Dunedin.
The Leicester and England back-row forward has been battling to overcome a knee injury sustained earlier this week, but was still named in the team for the Lions’ fifth tour match.
However, as the Lions prepared to leave their Christchurch base today, Moody pulled out of the line-up and was replaced by Ireland flanker Simon Easterby.
Easterby’s place on the bench will be taken by Welsh international Michael Owen, who has only just arrived back in New Zealand following a flying visit home for the birth of his second child.
The Lions will clearly be concerned at Moody’s state of health, and he now appears unlikely to have any chance of being involved against the All Blacks in Christchurch a week on Saturday.