Warren Gatland rues Alun Wyn Jones injury with British & Lions captain out of South Africa tour

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Warren Gatland has confirmed that captain Alun Wyn Jones is out of the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa with a shoulder injury suffered early in the 28-10 warm-up win against Japan at Murrayfield.

Jones left the field in discomfort after seven minutes, having dislocated his shoulder. He returned to watch much of the second half from the stands alongside his team-mates, then lifted the 1888 Cup using only his right hand.

But any optimism created by his second-half appearance in the stands alongside his team-mates and his lifting of the 1888 Trophy (admittedly with only one hand available) evaporated when Head Coach Gatland addressed the media after the game.

“The shoulder was dislocated, they got it back in pretty easily,” he said. "We'll get it scanned, but with a dislocated shoulder it's never good news.

“We'll look at getting someone in pretty quickly and on the plane tomorrow.”

"The prognosis of him being fit in the very best scenario is he might be able to get to the First Test [July 24].

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“He's been around rugby long enough but he's going to be gutted. This is very disappointing for him.

“It's one of those things you have to put behind you and move on as quickly as you can possibly can.”

Gatland confirmed that Jones will return to Wales rather than joining the squad on the flight to South Africa tomorrow. A replacement player and captain will be called up, likely on Sunday morning ahead of the flight.

Gatland was not sure if he and his coaches would name a tour captain, or a captain for each game. The candidates to replace Jones in the squad will be Jonny Gray of Scotland, James Ryan of Ireland, or perhaps George Kruis, the Englishman on a sabbatical in Japan (but home for the summer).

Jones is not the Lions’ only injury worry. Jack Conan overcame a hamstring worry to put in a superb performance at No8, although Gatland preferred to play the final 10 minutes with 14 men rather than risking the Irishman.

Flanker Justin Tipuric left the field 15 minutes after Jones with another shoulder injury.

“He got a stinger in the shoulder,” Gatland said. “We’re going to check on the scan that there’s no nerve damage.

“If there was any nerve impingement or damage then that could rule him out, but at the moment we're pretty confident he'll be OK and it's just a stinger in the shoulder.”

Coverage in partnership with London Pride, the Official Beer of the British and Irish Lions Tour to South Africa.

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