Alun Wyn Jones set to resume Lions captaincy on his return to squad

Warren Gatland also confirms Rónan Kelleher will arrive in South Africa on Thursday

Alun Wyn Jones is set to resume the Lions captaincy when he joins up with the squad again. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

Alun Wyn Jones is set to resume the Lions captaincy when he joins up with the squad again. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

 

Alun Wyn Jones is set to resume the captaincy of the British & Irish Lions from his stand-in replacement Conor Murray after his Lazarus-like recovery from the dislocated shoulder he sustained in their pre-tour win over Japan at Murrayfield two-and-a-half weeks ago.

The Lions also confirmed that Rónan Kelleher has been called up to the squad and will arrive in Cape Town with Jones on Thursday. The 23-year-old will provide additional cover at hooker for the remainder of the tour.

The 35-year-old Jones will clearly be a contender for the Tests again.

“He wouldn’t be coming out here unless he was coming to play and in his mind as well he’s back fully fit,” said Warren Gatland prior to Wednesday night’s game against the South Africa A side.

“So he’ll arrive here tomorrow and he’ll be back in training on Monday and in contention potentially for Test selection,” added Gatland.

“We’ll have a conversation with Alun Wyn and Conor when Alun Wyn gets out here and we’ll talk about that [the captaincy]. There’s a good chance that probably Alun Wyn will resume as tour captain and I think Conor will be pretty happy with that because none of us expected he [Jones] was going to be able to make the recovery to come out, so we’ll just have the chat with both the guys.

“They’re both extremely diligent and professional, and we’ll just make the best decision for the squad.”

Whether or not Kelleher sees any game time remains to be season, as Ken Owens, Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie remain the front-runners for the Tests.

“I’m delighted to announce Rónan will join up with the squad,” said Gatland.

“There’s no injuries to the three hookers out here, but we think it’s prudent to bring in cover in that position ahead of the Test series.”

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