British and Irish Lions rocked by Wyn Jones blow before first Springbok Test
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CAPE TOWN – The British and Irish Lions have been rocked by the withdrawal of loosehead prop Wyn Jones just a few hours before the first Test against the Springboks at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
Wales star Jones was chosen as the starting No 1 ahead of the likes of England’s Mako Vunipola and Scotland’s Rory Sutherland.
But on Saturday, the Lions announced that Jones had sustained a “minor shoulder injury” in training on Thursday, and that he had not recovered sufficiently to run out on to the pitch at 6pm for the kickoff.
Now Sutherland will come into the starting line-up, with Vunipola added to the replacements bench.
“It’s really bad luck for Wyn and we all feel for him missing out on tonight’s game,” Lions coach Warren Gatland said in a statement on Saturday.
“However, we’re confident he’ll be back in training next week, and have no plans to bring in anyone else at this stage.”
In some ways, having Vunipola on the bench is a boost to the Lions, as he will look to counter Springbok replacement tighthead prop Frans Malherbe in the scrums during the second half.
British and Irish Lions Team
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 (captain) 4 Maro Itoje 3 Tadhg Furlong 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie 1 Rory Sutherland.
Bench: 16 Ken Owens 17 Mako Vunipola 18 Kyle Sinckler 19 Tadhg Beirne 20 Hamish Watson 21 Conor Murray 22 Owen Farrell 23 Liam Williams.