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Alun Wyn Jones set for stunning Lions return after 'remarkable recovery'

The 35-year-old is back in full training with Wales.

Jones is set for a stunning Lions return.
Jones is set for a stunning Lions return.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Updated Jul 12th 2021, 3:40 PM

ALUN WYN JONES is set for a sensational return for the Lions on their tour of South Africa after what Warren Gatland described as a “remarkable recovery” from the shoulder injury that initially ruled him out of the trip.

Gatland will make a final decision tomorrow on whether or not Jones flies out to South Africa to re-join the squad.

The Welsh lock dislocated his shoulder in a pre-tour meeting with Japan in Murrayfield just over three weeks ago, with Adam Beard replacing him in the squad and Conor Murray taking over as tour captain.

However, 35-year-old Jones is now in line to fly out to South Africa after making a stunningly swift return to full training with Wales this week. 

The news was first broken by Rassie Erasmus at his press conference to announce a very strong South Africa A team for this Wednesday’s clash with the Lions in Cape Town, with Gatland subsequently confirming that Jones is set to re-join his squad.

“There’s a possibility as he is back in training,” said Lions boss Warren Gatland this afternoon. “We’re waiting for the medical reports to see what happens with that.

“A few weeks ago we didn’t think it was an option and he has been back fully training with Wales this and he’s doing a double session tomorrow with them. We’ll see what the outcome of that is. 

“He has made a remarkable recovery in terms of the injury, the assessment was initially that it wasn’t as bad as they first thought. It’s a real positive and it would be a boost to the squad to have someone of his experienced and calibre to come back in.”

Gatland also confirmed that Ireland hooker Rónan Kelleher is in line for a call-up to the Lions squad. 

“We just have to make a decision on that,” said Gatland. “One of the discussions we had with the South African management was that they were a little bit concerned about front row cover, that if we picked up some injuries, players or replacement players would have to spend a couple of days before joining the squad officially.

“We had to look at whether we needed cover at hooker if we picked up an injury and they were concerned a game could go to uncontested scrums.

“We might just look at making sure we’ve got cover in terms of that hooker position.”

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Meanwhile, Gatland confirmed that Robbie Henshaw is set for his return from a hamstring strain in Saturday’s clash with the Stormers in Cape Town.

“We could have pushed him for this game [on Wednesday], but we decided to make sure he had a few extra days so he’ll play on Saturday.”

The Springboks are hopeful of playing the Lions in another South Africa A clash this weekend but Gatland insisted that the tourists will stick to their schedule and play the Stormers.

“We won’t be playing them again on Saturday,” said Gatland.

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