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Alun Wyn Jones' Lions tour is over after just seven minutes at Murrayfield

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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The Lions quickly learned the true severity of the injury suffered by skipper Alun Wyn Jones just seven minutes into Saturday’s eve-of-departure match versus Japan at Murrayfield, the Welsh veteran getting ruled out post-game from the tour to South Africa. Jones was left needing treatment on the Edinburgh turf after he shipped a painful blow while trying to poach possession at a ruck on his ten-metre line. 


He had gone in foraging for the ball but he recoiled in pain following the legal clear-out by Japanese lock James Moore and following some on-pitch treatment where he was seen shaking his head in anguish, the second row trudged off towards the sidelines to be replaced by Courtney Lawes. While it appeared at the time that he was nursing his left wrist, it was claimed at half-time that he had instead potentially suffered a dislocated shoulder.  

It takes a lot for that man to be down on the ground for any sort of time so let’s hope that he is alright,” said ex-Ireland forward Jamie Heaslip, a teammate of Jones on the 2009 tour to South Africa who was working at Murrayfield as a pundit for Channel 4.

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“You see him looking at his wrist straight away when in that ruck. It looks like he has taken a nasty blow on it and let’s hope that he is alright and it’s nothing too serious. You can see him here, he is going in for the poach and it looks like his left arm is caught off position as the ruck is coming through. It’s a legitimate challenge… you can see what it means to him to be coming off that field.”

Sam Warburton, the Lions skipper on the 2013 and 2017 tours, added: “Alun Wyn never ever gets injured and goes down. He is a really tough man and really durable. It’s such a shame for your skipper to go off. The interesting dynamic is even if it is a two-week injury that could be three games on tour so suddenly Warren (Gatland) is looking at who could be captain for the short-term for a considerable number of games. It throws up a few questions for the Lions.”



Warburton later added at the interval: “It’s a great shame after seven minutes, particular for your captain to go down. If this is a suspected dislocated shoulder, it’s quite a big thing and you are not coming back from that. If it’s a dislocated shoulder you are going to be a month or two minimum. I know his wrist is limp, maybe he has got some peripheral nerve thing but if it is a dislocated shoulder it is unlikely we are going to see him play again.”

Lions assistant Gregor Townsend had added during the first half: “Let’s hope it is not too bad news for our captain. It was gutting to see him going off injured like that.”

The mood of the Lions further soured on 21 minutes when Justin Tipuric, Jones’ fellow Welshman, also made his exit with an unspecified injury. He went in for a tackle on one Japanese ball carrier and was then cleared out on the floor by skipper Michael Leitch and was replaced by Toby Faletau.

Despite the injuries, the Lions went on to lead 21-0 at the interval following converted tries from Josh Adams, Duhan van der Merwe and Robbie Henshaw. The winning margin was eventually 28-10, after which Gatland confirmed the worst regarding his skipper – that Jones had indeed been ruled out of the tour with a dislocated shoulder.



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