Alun Wyn Jones has included Paul O’Connell is his dream forward pack, alongside four Wales internationals he played with.
Jones has played with and against many of the best to have picked up a rugby ball, having played 149 tests for Wales and 12 tests for the British and Irish Lions during an international career that has spanned more than 15 years.
The Wales veteran came up against O’Connell in Ireland colours on plenty of occasions, while he also played alongside him in the 2009 and 2013 Lions tours.
Alun Wyn Jones on Paul O’Connell.
Jones selected his dream forward pack in his autobiography ‘Belonging’ and explained why he felt compelled to include the former Ireland lock alongside the likes of Richie McCaw and Bakkies Botha.
“I remember being impressed with his unruffled demeanour, plus his level of organisation. All his socks in one bag, all his shorts in another,” Jones wrote.
“Everything decanted into smaller bags within bigger bags. You cannot shy away from how effective the guy was in his position.”
There’s only one Alun Wyn Jones ?
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) August 6, 2021
Two current players have been included.
Jones has made a couple of surprising selections in his forward pack, with Kyle Sinckler perhaps the most eyebrow-raising inclusion based on his relatively young age.
Sinckler is just 28-years-old, but Jones clearly rates him very highly, having played with him on two Lions tours. The England prop has achieved plenty in his career so far, but still has many years of international rugby ahead of him and doesn’t have the experience of the other players selected.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, four Wales players have been included in Jones’ pack, with one player from Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and England also included.
8. Taulupe Faletau (Wales), 7. Richie McCaw (New Zealand), 6. Sam Warburton (Wales), 5. Paul O’Connell (Ireland), 4. Bakkies Botha (South Africa), 3. Kyle Sinckler (England), 2. Ken Owens (Wales), 1. Gethin Jenkins (Wales).