Former Lions tourist Dean Richards is backing Wales’ Alun Wyn Jones to be captain of Warren Gatland’s team when they take on the world champion Springboks later this year in a three-Test series. Jones recently led his country to unexpected Guinness Six Nations glory.

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Now Richards, who won six Tests caps for the Lions on their 1989 and 1993 tours, expects the 35-year-old Welsh veteran Jones to go on and be the figurehead when the Lions travel to South Africa in July. 

Newcastle boss Richards will get to see precisely how in form Jones is on Saturday when Falcons travel to face the Ospreys in Swansea in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals and he believes the Wales skipper will use his vast experience when dealing with French referee Ludovic Cayre. 

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Devin Toner guests on RugbyPass All Access talking about freak athlete second rows

Richards said: “Jones is a great leader and Wales have done incredibly well under him. I see no reason why he cannot do another Lions tour and he has just come through the Six Nations. I don’t see why can can’t go on another tour and it comes down to if he wants to.

“That second row area is incredibly competitive when you see what is available from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales but he should be there or thereabouts.

“That experience has seen him through and you get to a stage in life – as I did – when you don’t know if you deserve your spot. Over the years your athleticism drops off, but it is the experience that carries you through and it counts for a huge amount whether with the Ospreys or Wales. Going into a lineout or a close combat area you see him making those right calls.”

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Richards confirmed Newcastle and Scotland prop Jon Welsh, who got into a pre-game verbal battle with Ellis Genge last weekend, dislocated his shoulder after being hit on the side of a ruck by Leicester’s Jasper Wiese, who was not penalised. A scan will determine if surgery is required to repair the damage.

 

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