Simon Taylor suffered Lions heartbreak for the second time last night when he finally conceded defeat to a nagging hamstring strain that has forced him off the tour.
Taylor missed Saturday's defeat to the New Zealand Maori and that proved the final straw. He simply ran out of time to prove his fitness ahead of the Lions' first Test against the All Blacks on June 25.
The 25-year-old Scotland loose forward has been on two Lions tours but, cruelly, he is yet to start a match.
Taylor was invalided out of the 2001 trip to Australia after an appearance off the bench in the opening fixture and he will fly home from New Zealand without having appeared at all in the campaign.
It is doubly hard to bear for Taylor given every expectation - publicly at least - was that he would be back fit to play within a fortnight of sustaining the original injury, just before the Lions' home match against Argentina on May 25.
Taylor has now officially been replaced in the Lions squad by loose-forward Ryan Jones, who arrived in Auckland from Wales' summer tour of North America.
"I am massively disappointed that my tour has ended this way," Taylor said. "It is just an unfortunate co-incidence that this is my second tour to end like this. I thought I had a lot to offer this time round, especially having fought so hard to come back from injury over the past season.
"It is frustrating as I had been involved this week in full training sessions. But you have to be philosophical about these things. It is not a longterm injury but with only a few weeks left of the Lions tour there are just no guarantees that it would be right in time."
Head coach Sir Clive Woodward said: "Simon is hugely disappointed. There is not a lot you can say to him. He is a class player and I feel for him but he has the character to come back from this and we wish him well in his recovery."
The Lions have now lost four players through injury - Taylor, Iain Balshaw (thigh), Malcolm O'Kelly (groin) and Lawrence Dallaglio (fractured ankle) - and Jones becomes the 49th Lion selected for this tour.