Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones insists he will still fight for his place

Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones insists he will fight for his place despite being handed the armband after coach Warren Gatland admitted all places are up for grabs

  • Warren Gatland has said Alun Wyn Jones has no divine right to a starting place 
  •  The Welshman was named captain of the side by Gatland ahead of the tour 
  • Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and Iain Henderson will provide competition at lock
  • Wyn Jones has stressed the need for rivalry and says he will fight for his position 

Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones insists he will fight for the right to start in the Test team.

Warren Gatland has stated that the skipper has no divine right to a starting place – and Jones is taking nothing for granted.

Lock competition is stiff with the likes of Jones, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Iain Henderson, Jonny Hill and Tadhg Beirne.

Alun Wyn Jones insists he will fight for the right to start in the Test team despite being captain

‘You get a lot of congratulations for being captain but you want to be in that Test team,’ said Jones. 

‘There is Competition across the squad. There is a plethora of options, including hybrids that can cover back-row as well. That’s what you want. A strong squad so that a strong Test team comes through.

‘That list is lot longer than just 37. There is a host of others who would give a limb to be involved. To be in that squad is hugely special and it won’t be wasted.’

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland wants his squad to be ready for a battle

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland wants his squad to be ready for a battle 

World champions South Africa will be a tough test for Warren Gatland's squad, starting in June

World champions South Africa will be a tough test for Warren Gatland’s squad, starting in June

After being handed the armband, Jones said: ‘It’s surreal, I’ve always been fully aware of all those involved for the Lions, not just the captains.

‘To have your name tagged on to the end of those names is surreal and I totally understand the expectations of the four nations, of the fans.

‘It (tour) has already been unique with the will it, won’t it happen, and when will the squad be announced.

‘The jeopardy that has already happened means we will have a siege mentality from the off because of the forced bubble and fact that we will have to spend so much time together.’

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George North ruled out of Lions’ summer tour of South Africa after suffering serious knee injury

George North ruled out of Lions’ summer tour of South Africa after suffering serious knee injury as ‘heartbroken’ Wales star tweets ‘Sport can be cruel’ ahead of surgery

  • George North is no longer in contention for Lions’ upcoming tour of South Africa
  • He ruptured his ACL while playing for Ospreys against Cardiff Blues last week
  • News will come as a huge blow for Warren Gatland as North prepares for surgery
  • Wales star North tweeted ‘Sport can be cruel’ as he announced the news to fans 

Wales star George North is out of contention for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after confirming he has suffered a serious knee injury.

It is a major blow for Lions head coach Warren Gatland, who names his squad next week.

North was hurt during Ospreys’ victory over Cardiff Blues last weekend, and he tweeted: ‘Sport can be cruel.

‘We all know the risks when we take the field. Unfortunately, I ruptured my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) on Saturday and will need surgery next week. Heartbroken is an understatement.’

The normal recovery period for such an injury is six-nine months.

The Ospreys said: ‘The Ospreys can confirm wing George North has suffered an ACL injury to his right knee and will be ruled out for the rest of the season.

‘The Wales wing saw a specialist in London earlier this week and will undergo surgery next week.’

North, 29, was widely tipped for a starting place in Gatland’s Test team against the world champion Springboks.

He had been switched from wing to outside centre with great success by Wales head coach Wayne Pivac this season and played a key role in Wales’ Guinness Six Nations title-winning campaign.

North has won 102 caps for Wales and played in all three Lions Tests against Australia eight years ago.

It is a second setback in 24 hours for Gatland after Wasps and England lock Joe Launchbury saw his Lions selection hopes ended, also by a ruptured knee ligament.

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