Veteran Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will lead the 2021 British and Irish Lions in South Africa, it was announced Thursday.
The 35-year-old lock, long a leading contender for the captaincy role, led Wales to this season’s Six Nations title.
Jones has won a world record 157 Test caps and this will be his fourth Lions tour. He has played in the combined side’s last nine internationals in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
He also led the Lions to victory in the decisive 2013 Test against Australia when tour captain Sam Warburton was injured.
Jones saw off competition for the role from the likes of England’s Maro Itoje and Scotland’s Stuart Hogg to be chosen as captain by Lions head coach Warren Gatland for a July-August tour that culminates with three Tests against the world champion Springboks.
Jones, speaking on lionsrugby.com, said: “Obviously very proud, very privileged. To be selected in the squad is initially what you want to be hearing, and to have the armband as well is a privilege, with the names that have gone before and what those players have achieved.”
Asked how he had found out he had been selected as captain by Gatland, a former Wales coach, Jones said: “I had a call from Gats on Sunday evening, actually a missed call. Thought better give him a call back.
“We had a quick chat and I accepted obviously. I’ve just got a huge amount of pride to add this to the CV, but obviously there’s a lot of work to do once we get out there.”
Josh Adams (WAL), Bundee Aki (IRL), Dan Biggar (WAL), Elliot Daly (ENG), Gareth Davies (WAL), Owen Farrell (ENG), Chris Harris (SCO), Robbie Henshaw (IRL), Stuart Hogg (SCO), Conor Murray (IRL), Ali Price (SCO), Louis Rees-Zammit (WAL), Finn Russell (SCO), Duhan van der Merwe (SCO), Anthony Watson (ENG), Liam Williams (WAL)
Tadhg Beirne (IRL), Jack Conan (IRL), Luke Cowan-Dickie (ENG), Tom Curry (ENG), Zander Fagerson (SCO), Taulupe Faletau (WAL), Tadhg Furlong (IRL), Jamie George (ENG), Iain Henderson (IRL), Jonny Hill (ENG), Maro Itoje (ENG), Alun Wyn Jones (WAL, capt), Wyn Jones (WAL), Courtney Lawes (ENG), Ken Owens (WAL), Andrew Porter (IRL), Sam Simmonds (ENG), Rory Sutherland (SCO), Justin Tipuric (WAL), Mako Vunipola (ENG), Hamish Watson (SCO)
Jun 26: v Japan, Murrayfield (warm-up match)
Jul 3: v Western Stormers, Cape Town
Jul 7: v SA Invitation XV, Port Eizabeth
Jul 10: v Sharks, Durban
Jul 14: v South Africa A, Mbombela
Jul 17: v Bulls, Pretoria
Jul 24: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 1st TEST, Johannesburg
Jul 31: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 2ND TEST, Cape Town
Aug 7: SOUTH AFRICA v BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS, 3RD TEST, Johannesburg
The Originals, 1888
The Invincibles, 1974
The heroes of 1997
The Unbeaten Tours of 2013, 2017
Over to you Class of 2021 – Time to write a new chapter in our history ????
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 6, 2021