Lions XV vs Stormers: Alun Wyn Jones benched for second Tour Test
Mon Wyn Jones was named to the Lions bench to face the Stormers on Saturday, capping a remarkable comeback after a dislocated shoulder suffered against Japan three weeks earlier.
Lions captain Jones has been ruled out of the tour after dislocating his shoulder but lands in Cape Town today to rejoin the squad after completing a miracle recovery with Wales. He will be looking to prove his fitness to play the first Test next Saturday.
After four easy wins against Japan and under-strength South African national teams, the Lions lost their first match of the tour last night. A potent South African A side, featuring plenty of Springbok Test starters and World Cup winners, went 17-13 in a brutal game that gave the Lions a taste of what’s to come in the Test series, which begins next Saturday.
Coach Warren Gatland said last night he wouldn’t take part in full training with the Lions until Monday, but this morning he named Jones on his bench to face the Stormers.
Stuart Hogg captained the Lions from the back in the last game of the tour, having only joined the team in Cape Town yesterday after being considered a close contact of the member of staff who tested positive for Covid- 19 last week.
As the Lions struggle at fly-half, Marcus Smith starts with the No.10 shirt. ankle”, while Finn Russell is also injured.
Smith was called up on Saturday, while playing for England against Canada at Twickenham to cap off a remarkable month in the life of the 22-year-old in which he guided Harlequins to extraordinary wins over Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs through to the Premiership semi-final and final, then winning their first two international caps.
Robbie Henshaw is also named to the squad, having not played since the game in Japan due to injury. Josh Adams returns after missing last night’s game to join his partner on Zoom as she gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Liam Williams, who entered Adams’ squad, is out with an HIA.
“It’s an important game because it’s the last chance for the coaching staff to see the players perform before the start of the trial series,” Gatland said.
“Matchday 23 is their last chance to claim a Test spot, so I expect to see a very motivated group of players.
“We learned a lot from Wednesday’s game and hopefully the loss will serve us well. There are still some areas of the game that we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate.”
The Lions teams will face the Stormers
15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Josh Adams, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ali Price, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Tadhg Beirne, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Chris Harris, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit