On this day in 2021: Alun Wyn Jones named Lions captain for tour of South Africa
Alun Wyn Jones was named as British and Irish Lions captain for the summer tour of South Africa, on this day in 2021.
The Wales forward later suffered a shoulder injury which looked certain to rule him out of the trip, but he made a remarkable recovery to join up with the squad and play in all three Tests against the Springboks.
Wyn Jones had captained Wales to the 2021 Guinness Six Nations title and was set to embark on a fourth successive Lions tour, having stepped in to lead the squad in the series-clinching victory over Australia in Sydney when Sam Warburton was injured.
“Obviously very proud, very privileged (to be named captain),” said Wyn Jones, who at the time of the announcement had clocked up a world record 157 Tests for Wales and the Lions.
“To be selected in the squad is initially what you want to be hearing, and to have the armband as well is a privilege, with the names that have gone before and what those players have achieved.
“I’ve just got a huge amount of pride to add this to the CV, but obviously there’s a lot of work to do once we get out there and some huge games to face.”
It had, however, looked as if Wyn Jones’ hopes of leading Warren Gatland’s side into the Tests against the world champions were over after dislocating his left shoulder just seven minutes into the pre-tour curtain-raiser against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26.
𝗛𝗘'𝗦 𝗕𝗔𝗖𝗞 🦁
Alun Wyn Jones has made an incredible recovery and been given the all-clear to return to the #LionsRugby Tour 🙌🙌🙌
Read more ⬇️#CastleLionsSeries #LionsSA2021
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 14, 2021
Wyn Jones was initially ruled out of the tour, with Ireland’s Conor Murray named as replacement Lions captain.
However, after making a remarkable recovery – which saw him dubbed ‘Lazarus’ by team-mates – Wyn Jones returned to training with Wales before proving his fitness to join up with the rest of the Lions squad at their Cape Town base.
Jones helped guide the Lions to a 22-17 victory in the opening Test, the tourists mounting an impressive second-half comeback.
The Springboks, though, responded to dominate the second Test 27-9 and the Lions were then edged out 19-16 in the decider by Morne Steyn’s late penalty to slip to a series defeat.