Alun Wyn Jones will rejoin the British and Irish Lions on tour in South Africa less than three weeks after dislocating his shoulder.
The Lions captain was ruled out of the tour after suffering the injury just eight minutes into the game against Japan, and Conor Murray was named skipper in Jones’ absence.
However, Jones has made a remarkable comeback from the injury that was originally expected to rule him out for between six to eight weeks and will link up with the Lions in South Africa.
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Alun Wyn Jones has made an incredible recovery and been given the all-clear to return to the #LionsRugby Tour ???
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 14, 2021
‘He’s obviously raring to go.’
Jones was training with Wales on Tuesday ahead of their game against Argentina this weekend, and following a medical assessment this morning, the Welshman was cleared to rejoin the Lions squad.
“We are delighted to welcome Alun Wyn back. It’ll come as no surprise to anyone who knows Alun Wyn that since injuring his shoulder against Japan, he’s done everything he can to get himself back,” Gatland said.
“It’s remarkable really when you consider it’s just 18 days since he left us in Edinburgh.
“He’s been training with the Wales squad at the Vale since last week and yesterday he had a proper hit out. Following assessment from the medical staff this morning we’re satisfied he’s fit to return.
“He’s obviously raring to go and from what I’ve seen on video and the feedback we’ve received, he’s certainly not been holding himself back in training. He was really getting stuck in yesterday.
“It’s a massive boost for the Lions to welcome a player of Alun Wyn’s stature back.”
Alun Wyn Jones is back in contention for the test series.
While Conor Murray was named as tour captain after Jones’ injury, it appears that the Welshman will assume the role again on his return.
Jones will rejoin the Lions in time for the tourists’ last warm-up game against the Stormers, in a match that could prove crucial to him in getting back up to speed before the test series.
The Welshman isn’t guaranteed to start against the Springboks in the first test, given both his injury and Gatland’s willingness to drop his tour captains, but it is more than likely he will feature in the series in some capacity.