'How can he play Test match rugby against rugby's most physical team?'
Former British & Irish Lions blindside Stephen Ferris has questioned how Alun Wyn Jones can come back and play “the most physical team in world rugby” after being out for 18 days.
Jones has made a near unthinkable return from a shoulder injury to return to the Lions’ fold, having been flown in alongside late call-up Ronan Kelleher. Jones dislocated a shoulder against Japan, an injury that normally takes a month to recover from, but Jones has managed the feat in just three weeks.
However, Jones is far from a shoe in for the Test squad, despite being the original tour captain, a role he is set to being given once again by head coach Warren Gatland.
However, speaking to Jim Hamilton on the RugbyPass Lions’ Fanzone, Ferris has questioned if the ageing Jones can come back into a cauldron as hot as the one the Springboks have planned for the British & Irish Lions.
“You want your captain to be number one on the team sheet. First name on the team sheet; that’s Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll for Ireland, for the England the Martin Johnsons and Dallaglios; when it comes to Wales’, it’s Alun Wyn Jones.
“But I don’t think it is Alun Wyn Jones at the minute. He hasn’t played rugby in 18, 19 days after dislocating a shoulder. How can he come in and play Test match rugby against the most physical and powerful team in world rugby in South Africa, and expect to perform?
“It just for me, doesn’t work. He needs to get game time but we’re running out of games here Jim.”
Jones has now been named on the bench to face the Stormers on Saturday after Gatland did a u-turn on his isolation.
“What’s the big plus of bringing him back in? I’m not so sure. Hopefully we’ll see it in the next few weeks.
“I think Conor Murray, when Gats told him he [Jones] was coming back, the only positive for him was that he wasn’t going to be called Skips anymore.
“I wouldn’t be too pleased being named the tour captain and then be told all of sudden, that coming into Test match week, you’re captain anymore. But that’s just Gats isn’t it. He doesn’t care what any other person thinks. In his mind he’s making the right decisions for the squad and what’s going to benefit more, and if Alun Wyn Jones benefits the squad, being brought back in as captain, then happy days.
“We’ve got to back it and get behind it, but I’m not too sure how much rugby Alun Wyn Jones is going to play.”
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