THE CAP: British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will join the tour after recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in their pre-departure warm-up match for South Africa, announced Wednesday the team.
He will arrive on Thursday after what coach Warren Gatland has described as a “miraculous” recovery, having initially retired after dislocating his shoulder at the start of the test against Japan in Edinburgh on June 26.
“After a training session with the Wales squad at Vale of Glamorgan training headquarters on Tuesday and a subsequent medical evaluation this morning, the second row has been declared fit to resume the tour of South Africa,” a statement said Wednesday before the Lions. ‘Fourth touring match against South Africa A at Cape Town Stadium.
His return puts Jones, 35, in contention for a place in the first test, also in Cape Town on July 24.
“It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows Alun Wyn that since he injured his shoulder against Japan, he has done everything he can to recover. It’s really remarkable when you consider that it’s only been 18 days since he left us in Edinburgh, ”said Gatland.
“He’s been training with the Wales squad at Vale since last week and yesterday he had a good hit. Following the assessment of the medical staff this morning, we are convinced that they are fit to return.
“He’s obviously looking forward to going and from what I’ve seen on video and the feedback we’ve received, he certainly didn’t hold back in training. He was really stuck yesterday.
“It’s a huge boost for the Lions to once again welcome a player of Alun Wyn’s stature.”
Jones is on his fourth Lions tour, having first been picked in South Africa 12 years ago. He was named captain of that tour, a job Irish scrum-half Conor Murray then took on when Jones did not make it to Johannesburg with the team late last month.
Last year Jones set a world record for most test appearances and now has 148 caps for Wales and nine Lions tests. -REUTERS