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Alun Wyn Jones relishing chance to take on South Africa

Alun Wyn Jones relishing chance to take on South Africa
© Reuters
The Wales skipper had been ruled out of the tour four weeks ago after dislocating his shoulder.

Alun Wyn Jones will take even greater satisfaction from leading the British and Irish Lions against South Africa after rescuing his tour from oblivion.

Four weeks to the day after dislocating his left shoulder seven minutes into the curtain-raiser against Japan, Jones will captain the Lions in Saturday's critical series opener against the world champions in Cape Town.

The Wales skipper had been ruled out of the tour only to learn there was a way back from the injury, enabling him to show remarkable powers of recovery that have seen him dubbed 'Lazarus' by team-mates.

Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones was injured against Japan (Andrew Milligan/PA)

"The first few days after dislocating the shoulder and getting home, I was almost on the sofa before the guys had even got to the airport on the Monday. That was a tough one," Jones said.

"Fast forward to the Tuesday when I was told there was a chance – it was bordering on the surreal. To be here now and taking the knocks and bumps and being in amongst it with the group – it means more, I am not going to lie.

"I had spent two weeks with the guys getting to know people. We were bedding in with the rugby. I had the seven minutes and for those two days that was my tour done.

"I had the decent news on the Tuesday and sometimes all you need is a chance and I was willing to work hard, and make it difficult for Warren Gatland, to make myself available for selection.

"I was fortunate enough to get some game time against the Stormers on Saturday and put myself in contention.

"To be sitting here now and to be involved in the Test team is everything I have ever worked for really over the last...I would be lying if I said it was two years, it is probably four years.

"Obviously when you finish a series or a tour you don't know whether you are going to tour next and a lot of games go under the bridge.

"To be sitting here now is a very, very special thing, but it is only a very short step to what is going to be, hopefully, a very enjoyable week."

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland has been impressed by Jones' recovery (David Rogers/PA)

Jones becomes the first player of the professional era to make 10 consecutive Test appearances for the Lions having also been capped on the 2009, 2013 and 2017 Lions tours.

When Gatland was asked what that achievement means, he joked: "That he's old! He's been around a while!

"It's a fantastic achievement for anyone playing your first Test match, but playing 10.... It's fantastic. I think it shows who he is as a player."

Now that Jones has completed a recovery described by Gatland as a "miracle", he has one objective in his sights.

"We set out – and this is the message I gave to the squad back at the Lensbury in June – to win a Test series. I think we have a squad here capable of starting that ball rolling," he said.

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of artistic gymnastics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right

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