MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 22:19:34| >> :120:21329:21329:

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.

ID:456408: cacheID:456408:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:7644:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Maro Itoje in action for Saracens in September 2018
Read Next:
Eben Etzebeth vs. Maro Itoje head-to-head record
>

rhs 2.0
Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan124521
ChinaChina115824
United StatesUnited States1011930
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78520
AustraliaAustralia61916
Great BritainGreat Britain56516
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!