FILE - Injured British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones could rejoin the side this week, says coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
FILE - Injured British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones could rejoin the side this week, says coach Warren Gatland. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Alun Wyn Jones may return as Lions prepare for 'fourth Test'

By AFP Time of article published Jul 12, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG – Original captain Alun Wyn Jones is in line to join the British and Irish Lions tour this week, coach Warren Gatland said on Monday.

The news came as current tour captain Conor Murray said the Lions were expecting to face "a fourth Test" when they play a strong South Africa A team in Cape Town on Wednesday.

Gatland said a decision on Wyn Jones could be made on Tuesday.

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The giant Wales lock was due to lead the squad on his fourth Lions tour before injuring a shoulder against Japan in Edinburgh the day before the team flew to South Africa.

"A few weeks ago we did not think that it was an option," said Gatland. "He has been back fully training with Wales.

"I think he is doing a double session with them tomorrow (Tuesday) and we will just see what the outcome is.

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"He has made a remarkable recovery. The assessment was that the injury was not as bad as they first thought.

"It is a real positive and it would be a boost to the squad for someone of his experience and calibre to come back."

Meanwhile, scrum-half Murray said he was looking to his first start of the tour – and his first game as captain since taking over from Wyn Jones.

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"I think it is going to be pretty much a Test match. If you look at their (South Africa A) line-up, it's going to be a really intense game, almost a fourth Test.

"Since we arrived in Cape Town (on Sunday) the players have switched to a more serious mode in terms of our preparation and the edge that we have in training.

"Having seen the South Africa A line-up, it is only going to sharpen our focus even more. It's going to be a real battle, almost like a fourth Test for us, a massive challenge and a preparation for what's to come."

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Gatland said outside backs Owen Farrell and Robbie Henshaw were both expected to be fit for the Lions' following game against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday after recovering from an abdominal strain and hamstring injury respectively.

AFP

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