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Adam Jones Reveals The Tension Between Players In The Build-Up To Lions Selection

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29: Adam Jones of the Lions appeals to the touch judge after a collapsed scrum during game two of the International Test Series between the Australian Wallabies and the British & Irish Lions at Etihad Stadium on June 29, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

All the work is over for Lions hopefuls. For the past number of months, they have taken to the rugby field time and time again, knowing that any mistake could cost them a place on the plane to New Zealand, while every positive contribution can impress Warren Gatland.

With last weekend’s action wrapped up, all those in contention can do is wait until tomorrow’s announcement.

Gatland will unveil what is predicted to be a 37-man squad to take on the World Cup champions.

DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 25: Head Coach Warren Gatland of Wales reacts prior to the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 25, 2016 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

One player who understands the anxious wait which players are going through is Harlequins prop Adam Jones. The former Wales tighthead toured with the Lions in 2009 and 2013.

In the weeks and months leading up to the announcement, he feels that there is real pressure on players’ shoulders to perform, particularly against your rivals as far as Lions selection is concerned.

“That is your mindset. Personally playing England in 2013 against Dan Cole, I wanted to be the best tighthead on the field.”

HONG KONG - JUNE 01: Adam Jones of the Lions looks on during the match between the British & Irish Lions and the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium on June 1, 2013, Hong Kong. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

This mindset was prevalent throughout the Six Nations Championship. One such example was Rhys Webb’s performance against Ireland, where the Ospreys scrum-half out-performed an injured Conor Murray.

“He kind of played it off a bit following the Ireland game. He gave the classic stereotypical sportsman’s answer, but if Conor Murray is playing against Rhys Webb, then I’m sure Webb will want to be getting one up on Conor Murray.

“Obviously, Murray’s injury didn’t help, but in that instant it was certainly 1-0 to Webby!

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be both on the plane to New Zealand, mind you.”

With Warren Gatland taking charge of the Lions tour, Wales are likely to have a strong contingent on the plane. Jones picked Ken Owens as a player who has come in from the shade to be a likely starter.

“Ken Owens is going to be on that plane. He’s been fantastic for Wales.

“He maybe went under the radar with some of the big names in England and Ireland, but Ken Owens for me is a bolter, not a bolter as he started for Wales throughout the Six Nations.

“He’s gone under a lot of peoples radar, but wrongly so as he’s been the best hooker in the Six Nations.”

Adam Jones was speaking to Pundit Arena with thanks to Canterbury.

Adam Jones is Canterbury’s Enforcer, roaming Twitter to ensure the British & Irish Lions jersey remains Untouchable until the squad is announced. To find out more, visit @CanterburyNZ.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.