British and Irish Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones is out of the tour of South Africa following injury against Japan this past weekend. Here’s a look at how it happened and more on his replacement in both position and captaincy.
The Wales legend was ruled out with a dislocated shoulder following contact at the breakdown just seven minutes into the Lions’ 28-10 win over Japan at Murrayfield.
While it seemed like a fairly routine clearout, the injury puts him out of the tour and he has since been replaced by fellow Wales second rower, Adam Beard.
A surprise for many, Ireland’s Conor Murray has been named as tour skipper, beating out the likes of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje despite not having captaincy experience with Munster or Ireland.
“I didn’t even think about it,” said Murray when asked about the possibility of getting the role.
“I knew that Al was out and then you look around the squad and there are so many contenders… Warren asked me just before the cap ceremony and it was surreal. I still don’t have my head around it, but it’s an unbelievable honour. It’s something that I never thought would be possible.”
Wales flanker Justin Tipuric has also been ruled out with a shoulder injury. He will be replaced in the squad by Josh Navidi.
“We’re all incredibly disappointed for Alun Wyn and Justin. The timing of these injuries seem particularly cruel given we fly to South Africa tomorrow, but unfortunately they’re part of the game,” Gatland said.
“Alun Wyn will obviously be a big loss, both on and off the field, but will be ably replaced by Conor.
“Conor is an outstanding rugby player and is held in the highest regard with both the players and coaches.
“As a three-time Lions tourist, he knows what will be required as captain and I’m certain he will lead the squad with excellence. He will also be well supported by an experienced leadership group.
“We plan for Adam and Josh to join up with the touring party before we depart for South Africa tomorrow evening.”