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Monday Aug 9, 2021

Lions captain's emotions boil over in raw interviews following loss

Outgoing British & Irish Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones was full of emotion following their narrow 19-16 and 2-1 series defeat to the Springboks on Saturday evening. Post match he was fighting back tears, and in the press conference it all boiled over. 

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After a late Morne Steyn penalty – yet again – won the series for the Springboks, the Lions were left wondering what could have been and where it all went wrong.

Morne Steyn’s fairy tale return to glory shows us just why we love sport

Sadly for Jones, this will be his fourth and final tour, ending in heartache.

The Wales lock – rugby’s most-capped player – fought back tears when asked about playing his final game for the Lions:

With a trip to Australia pencilled in for 2025, he used a forceful outgoing speech to remind team-mates of the importance of being selected.

“I’m never going to put this jersey on again, I am never going to have this chance again,” said the 35-year-old, who overcame a dislocated shoulder to face the Springboks.

“I made a point to the guys that whoever is on the next one, make sure you go as hard as hell because it is a very special privilege to be involved in.

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“I’ve already had a bit of stick for being overly emotional and I don’t give a f**k if people think I’m over-emotional, that’s what it means to me.

“Sometimes it’s easier to use the agent of a bit of raw language, so I apologise for that.”

Lions tours date back to 1888, with this year’s instalment – one of the most toxic in history due to off-field arguments and serious question marks about the on-field offering – in constant jeopardy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gatland’s men were punished for not fully capitalising on a 1-0 series lead or their first half dominance in the decider.

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Jones reflected on the painful climax but was eager to avoid appearing bitter by adding to criticism of perceived tedious tactics and gamesmanship from the victorious Springboks.

“Credit to South Africa, they won. I’d set a pretty poor example if I was to start doing that now,” he said.

“I’ve played the game long enough to know that whatever I say people won’t be happy with, and people will pull it apart and take it out of context to fit their narrative. On a very basic level, I’ve got to set an example.

“We had our opportunities. To fall (narrowly) short probably hurts more than if it was a bigger loss.”

Catch up on the match highlights below:

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