Saturday, December 4News That Matters

Alun Wyn Jones ‘is expected to be named Lions captain’ when Warren Gatland selects his squad

Alun Wyn Jones is widely expected to be named as the British and Irish Lions captain when Warren Gatland names his 36-man squad for South Africa on Thursday, according to the Telegraph.

The Wales captain has emerged as the clear favourite for the armband over England duo Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell, after leading Wayne Pivac’s side to a Six Nations triumph.

The second row became the most-capped international player in history over the past 12 months and has now amassed 157 appearances fro Wales and the Lions.

Alun Wyn Jones is widely expected to be named as the British and Irish Lions captain

Alun Wyn Jones is widely expected to be named as the British and Irish Lions captain

Alun Wyn Jones is widely expected to be named as the British and Irish Lions captain

The Wales captain has emerged as the clear favourite for the armband over Maro Itoje

The Wales captain has emerged as the clear favourite for the armband over Maro Itoje

The Wales captain has emerged as the clear favourite for the armband over Maro Itoje

The 35-year-old made his Lions debut back in 2009 and scored in his first match against Royal XV. He went on to start the first Test match and came on from the bench in the second and third.

Jones was then handed the armband for the final Test match in the 2013 Tour of Australia after fellow countryman Sam Warburton picked up an injury before the showdown in Sydney.

In 2017, Jones started all Three test matches to put himself among an exclusive few to have played and beaten South Africa, Australia and New Zealand for the Lions.

Sportsmail columnist Sir Clive Woodward had his say on the captaincy dilemma facing Warren Gatland and compared the Welshman’s CV to England’s Itoje. 

Jones became the most-capped international player in history over the past 12 months

Jones became the most-capped international player in history over the past 12 months

Jones became the most-capped international player in history over the past 12 months

However, not everyone is reading off the same hymn sheet as former England captain Dylan Hartley believes Itoje should lead the tourists.

‘Everyone’s wondering where Alun Wyn Jones is, and he’s the back-up to Mr Maro Itoje,’ Hartley explained.

‘They’re both workhorses. They’re both annoyingly good workhorses. So if one of them gets injured or you want to bring a like-for-like on, they’re very similar grafting players.’

Covid bubbles mean Gatland will take a smaller squad to South Africa than in previous years, leaving him with a balancing act across positions.