Wire Service
2 minute read
15 Jul 2021
1:37 pm

Fit-again Alun Wyn Jones straight into team for final Lions tune-up


England flyhalf Marcus Smith will make his Lions debut after joining the squad earlier in the week while Irish centre Robbie Henshaw also returns to action.

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones was originally ruled out of the tour to South Africa are picking up a shoulder problem, but he has recovered and will play in the team's final warm-up game ahead of the Test series on Saturday. Picture: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Alun Wyn Jones was on Thursday named in the British and Irish Lions matchday 23 for a match against the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg will captain a completely new team in the final match for the tourists before the first Test against the Springboks at the same venue on July 24.

Wyn Jones, who was due to captain the tour party before being injured in a pre-tour match against Japan on June 26, was named among the replacements despite only arriving in South Africa on Thursday.

The Welsh lock forward was initially ruled out of the tour with a dislocated shoulder but made a remarkable recovery.

ALSO READ: Confirmed: Alun Wyn Jones set to rejoin Lions tour in SA

England flyhalf Marcus Smith will make his Lions debut after joining the squad earlier in the week while Irish centre Robbie Henshaw returns to action after recovering from a hamstring injury.

In the aftermath of a 17-13 midweek loss to South Africa A on Wednesday, coach Warren Gatland said, “It’s an important game as it’s the final chance for the coaching group to see the players perform prior to the start of the Test series.

ALSO READ: Gatland reacts to first loss by Lions: ‘We finished the stronger team’

“For the matchday 23 it’s their last opportunity to stake a claim for a Test place, so I expect to see a highly motivated group of players.”

Gatland said the Lions had come through a highly physical match against South Africa “pretty much intact” although full-back Liam Williams will have to go through a return-to-play protocol after suffering a head injury.

“We learnt a lot from Wednesday’s game and I hope the defeat will serve us well. There are still some areas of the game we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate.”

ALSO READ: Van Rhyn to lead Stormers against Lions in tourists’ final warm-up

Lions: Stuart Hogg (capt); Josh Adams, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe; Marcus Smith, Ali Price; Jack Conan, Hamish Watson, Tadhg Beirne; Jonny Hill, Adam Beard; Tadhg Furlong, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Rory Sutherland. Bench: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Chris Harris, Louis Rees-Zammit