Alun Wyn Jones confident in Lions options available to Warren Gatland

Lions skipper knows competition for places will be intense in South Africa.

By Press Association Published: 8 May 2021 - 9.00pm
Rugby Union

South Africa

Warren Gatland

Alun Wyn Jones believes the British and Irish Lions possess “a plethora of options” when it comes to selection in South Africa this summer.

And even though Jones will lead the Lions as captain, he knows it does not come with any Test team guarantee for him.

“You get a lot of congratulations for being captain, but you want to be in that Test team,” Wales skipper Jones said.

“Competition across the squad and in the midweeks, there is a plethora of options, hybrids that can cover back-row as well.

“That’s what you want. A strong squad so that a strong Test team comes through.”

Jones skippered the Lions to a Test series-clinching victory over Australia in Sydney eight years ago when Sam Warburton was injured.

But this time, he has landed the job from the outset for a tour that promises to be like no other as global sport continues its emergence from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I totally understand the expectations of the four nations, of the fans”
- British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones

“It’s surreal,” Jones added. “I’ve always been fully aware of all those involved for the Lions, not just the captains.

“To have your name tagged on to the end of those names is surreal and I totally understand the expectations of the four nations, of the fans.

“It (tour) has already been unique with the will it, won’t it happen, and when will the squad be announced.

“The jeopardy that has already happened means we will have a siege mentality from the off because of the forced bubble and fact that we will have to spend so much time together.

“There will be positives in that. Those are the challenges you face and not just in rugby.”

One of the most competitive Six Nations Championships for many seasons has been reflected by Lions head coach Warren Gatland’s squad selection, with a relatively-even split of players across the four nations in his final 37-man group.

Jones said: “Not everyone is the same and you have to pick up on characteristics and traits.

“You know the competitors, know the guys who will be at the forefront of the entertainments crew. I want everyone to be proud of where they come from and what, and who, they represent.

“To be in that squad is hugely special and it won’t be wasted.”

BT Sport Monthly Pass

Join the home of live sport for just £25 per month. Get instant access to the BT Sport app, with no contract and no BT broadband required.