In what can be described as a miraculous recovery, Welsh
veteran Alun Wyn Jones will captain the British and Irish Lions in the first
test against the Springboks this weekend after returning to the squad following
a dislocated shoulder last month.
In what can be described as a miraculous recovery, Welsh veteran Alun Wyn Jones will captain the British and Irish Lions in the first test against the Springboks this weekend after returning to the squad following a dislocated shoulder last month.
Jones was left out of the touring party following his injury in their warm-up match against Japan but made the trip to South Africa and came off the bench in their final preparation match against the Stormers last weekend.
For coach Warren Gatland picking his final match-day 23 has been his hardest job in all Lions tours that he has been in charge of.
"In my four tours as a Lions coach, this was by far the hardest Test selection I have been involved in," Gatland said.
"We know what we're coming up against on Saturday. It's going to be an arm wrestle, there's no doubt about it. We'll need to front up physically and be ready to go from the first whistle.
"When we played South Africa 'A' last week we probably took a bit too long to get into the game, something we can't afford to do again this weekend.
"We need to make sure we play in the right areas of the field, not give them easy territory, and take our chances."
In one of the surprise selections, Gatland has gone with Scottish scrumhalf Ali Price ahead of experienced Irish half-back Connor Murray who started all three test matches on their previous tour to New Zealand.
The test match kicks off at the Cape Town Stadium at 6pm on Saturday.
British and Irish Lions versus South Africa
15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tadhg Beirne, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Liam Williams.
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