David Rogers/Getty Images
Alun Wyn Jones was back for the British and Irish Lions after a shoulder injury.
Veteran lock Alun Wyn Jones has made a remarkable return to the British and Irish Lions in a win over the Stormers but is not yet assured of a test jumper against the Springboks.
The Wales captain played 27 minutes off the bench in the Lions’ 49-3 win at Cape Town on Saturday (Sunday NZ time) in the tourists’ final game before the first test against the Springboks.
Jones – the most capped player in test rugby history – was sidelined after hurting his shoulder in the Lions’ warm-up game against Japan in Edinburgh less than three weeks ago.
The Lions’ first choice as captain recovered sufficiently to train with Wales and prove his fitness in contact sessions before flying to South Africa to join Warren Gatland’s squad.
* Alun Wyn Jones to rejoin British and Irish Lions in South Africa after shoulder injury
* Injured British & Irish Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones set for shock return
* British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland backs Alun Wyn Jones to make ‘miracle’ recovery
* Conor Murray named to captain British and Irish Lions after Alun Wyn Jones suffers injury
Jones – on his fourth Lions tour –came on in the 53rd minute and immediately threw himself into the fray with some big tackles.
Gatland was impressed, but would not say if Jones had done enough to merit a spot in the squad for the first test next Saturday (Sunday NZ time) in Cape Town.
I thought he put a few shots on and defended well,” said Gatland.
“The big thing was his lungs and getting through the period. I haven’t spoken to him after the game but I will.
“I know how hard he was worked to be on this Lions tour. It was a shame he got that injury but we are delighted to have him back.
“We will have a conversation to see if he is involved as a starter or on the bench, or not at all.
“He is a competitor and he was desperate to get back. It shows how much it means to the players to go on a tour and hopefully be successful. The boys are pretty happy in the changing room.”
The Lions scored seven tries after lock Adam Beard opened their account in the 28th minute.
England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie – who won the man of the match award – England lock Hill, Ireland No 8 Jack Conan, Scotland prop Zander Fagerson, Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit and England No 8 Sam Simmonds also scored tries.
Young flyhalf Marcus Smith slotted all seven conversions and helped set up two tries on his Lions debut after just two caps for England.
Gatland said the Harlequins pivot would be in the conversation for a test place.
“He had some lovely touches, he kicked well for goal and I thought he defended well,” said 57-year-old Gatland.
“He will be part of the discussions and he is like everyone else.
“A lot of people put their hand up tonight and there were some pleasing performances.”
AT A GLANCE
British and Irish Lions 49 (Adam Beard, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill, Jack Conan, Zander Fagerson, Louis Rees-Zammit, Sam Simmonds tries; Marcus Smith 7 con) Stormers 3 (Tim Swiel pen). HT: 21-3.