Confirmed: Alun Wyn Jones returns to Lions touring party

Tour captain dislocated his shoulder against Japan just two and a half weeks ago

The British and Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland has confirmed that tour captain Alun Wyn Jones will return to the Lions touring party in South Africa.

The 35-year-old Welsh lock and captain has made a Lazarus like return after seemingly being ruled out of the tour when he dislocated his shoulder during the game against Japan at Murrayfield on Saturday June 26th, just two and a half weeks ago.

The original tour captain, who will fly into Cape Town on Thursday, is the world's most capped player, having played 157 tests. The only survivor from the Lions tour to South Africa a dozen years ago, he has been an ever-present in the last three test series and has started their last seven tests.

Following a training session with the Wales squad at the Vale of Glamorgan training headquarters on Tuesday and subsequent medical assessment this morning, the secondrow was passed fit to return to the Tour in South Africa.


“We are delighted to welcome Alun Wyn back,” said Gatland. “It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows Alun Wyn that since injuring his shoulder against Japan, he’s done everything he can to get himself back.

“It’s remarkable really when you consider it’s just 18 days since he left us in Edinburgh.

“He’s been training with the Wales squad at the Vale since last week and yesterday he had a proper hit out. Following assessment from the medical staff this morning we’re satisfied he’s fit to return.

“He’s obviously raring to go and from what I’ve seen on video and the feedback we’ve received, he’s certainly not been holding himself back in training. He was really getting stuck in yesterday.

“It’s a massive boost for the Lions to welcome a player of Alun Wyn’s stature back.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times