Alon Wayne Jones joins the British and Irish Lions in South Africa after an amazing recovery

Alon Wayne Jones has been training with Wales this week as he ramps up his ‘fantastic’ recovery from injury

Alon Wayne Jones is set to join the British and Irish Lions squad just 18 days after dislocating his shoulder.

The 35-year-old Lock Wales was appointed first captain of the Lions’ Tour in South Africa before being disqualified due to injury in the warm-up victory over Japan.

Jones recovered faster than expected as coach Warren Gatland confirmed he is in contention for the first Test on July 24.

He won’t be ready to play against the Stormers on Saturday.

“He’s only going out if he’s coming to play, in his mind too, he feels like he’s back in full shape,” Gatland said.

“He’ll get here tomorrow and back to training on Monday and in a potential test competition.”

Ireland Half-Ireland Conor Murray has been named as the new captain of the tour after Jones sustained an injury on June 26 at Murrayfield.

Gatland believes Wales captain Jones will resume his leadership role when he arrives in South Africa on Thursday.

“We’ll have a chat with Alun Wayne when he gets out here,” Gatland added.

“There is a great chance that he will come to be the leader of the tour again. We will speak with Connor and Alon Wayne and make the best decision for the team.”

Jones will participate in his fourth consecutive Lions Tour when he arrives in South Africa.

“We are delighted to welcome Alon Wayne back,” Gatland said.

“It would come as no surprise to anyone who knows Alon Wayne that since he injured his shoulder against Japan, he has done everything in his power to get himself back.

“It’s really cool to think that it’s only been 18 days since he left us in Edinburgh.

“He’s been training with Wales in Vale since last week and yesterday he took a proper hit. After evaluation from the medical staff this morning, we are satisfied that he is fit to come back.

“He’s obviously eager to go and from what I saw in the video and the reactions we got, he certainly didn’t hold himself back in training. He was really stuck yesterday.

“It’s a huge boost for Lions to welcome back a player of Alon Wayne’s stature.”

Jones struggled with the injury in the Lions’ warm-up win over Japan at Murrayfield on June 26, a match that also ended Osprey’s teammate and Welshman Justin Tiburic.

The open side winger also left Tiborek with a shoulder injury.

But Jones overcame his touring setback and hopes to provide a major boost to Gatland’s forward and leadership resources.

The most capped player in the game’s history includes nine consecutive Test Lions that spanned a streak of defeat in South Africa in 2009, a victory in Australia in 2013, and a draw with New Zealand in 2017.

When Sam Warburton was injured in 2013, Jones took the lead in the crucial third Test in Sydney.

Part of his recovery has included training with Wales this week as they prepare for their second Test on Saturday in Cardiff against Argentina.

Jones was replaced in the Lions’ squad by Wells and Osprey’s second-tier partner Adam Bird, who impressed him in South Africa.

Bird, England’s Maru Etoge, Johnny Hill, Courtney Luz, Ireland’s Ian Henderson and Tadge Byrne are contenders for a place in the three Test series against Springboks, which begins on Saturday 24 July.

The Lions face South Africa A in Cape Town on Wednesday.

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