Matt Dawson column: Lions will be galvanised by lack of captain Alun Wyn Jones


I am unable to fairly perceive how exhausted Alun Wyn Jones have to be from not happening the Lions tour, however sadly, the gamers do not have time to cope with it.

The day after he has dislocated his shoulder Within the warm-up recreation towards Japan, the remainder of the squad was on the aircraft to South Africa.

Now there may be a lot coaching available and there are strict Covid-19 protocols to cope with.

The times are so full and they are going to be working turnarounds for 3 or 4 days.

Neither is it that Alun Wyn and Justin Tipuric, who was additionally injured towards Japan, would be the solely gamers to depart the tour as a result of harm. Sadly that may occur.

I would not imagine for a minute that the group believes that shedding Jones is the top of the world and their tour is over.

It can seemingly wake them up and make all of them understand that it’s a 40-man roster that may win them the collection towards the world champion.

“The Lions have misplaced one in every of their pillars”

Alun Wyn Jones and the Lions squad with their trophy.  Jones wears a tracksuit top and has his left hand in his pocket.
Alun Wyn Jones (heart entrance) returned to the sphere for the trophy after the Lions defeated Japan

There can be part of Alun Wyn that can be desperately disenchanted. There may be an iconic standing for the captain, able to be captured.

I feel he confirmed his class by doing as a lot as potential after the Japan recreation, happening the pitch and taking the trophy.

It wasn’t about him, it was nonetheless about profitable the tour. He made an impression on the tour group they are going to be taking up in South Africa.

It is a huge loss as a result of Alun Wyn has been on three excursions and has set an unimaginable commonplace.

I can solely attribute it to somebody like Martin Johnson, who led the Lions on the 1997 tour of South Africa and the 2001 tour of Australia.

If he was injured and never enjoying, you’d know you’re a weaker squad. It does not imply you’re a weaker testing group, however as a group you lose one in every of your pillars.

It isn’t a lot in regards to the seat as a result of the Lions have second ranks who’re equally competent in that place.

It is all the off-field expertise he brings that’s going to be a loss. Martin had been on a Lions tour in 1993. I do not assume he was essentially the totem that Alun Wyn Jones is.

However he would all the time keep on the group. He was a person mountain and would by no means go backwards.

Alun Wyn was additionally excellent at bringing totally different nations collectively. Such an individual is tough to exchange.

“Murray is held in excessive regard”

Conor Murray sits next to an aircraft captain in the cockpit
Conor Murray, pictured forward of the Lions’ flight to South Africa, was named captain on Saturday evening

Eire’s scrum half Conor Murray was shortly chosen to take the captaincy. He would have been potential on my listing, but in addition Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, Stuart Hogg or Ken Owens.

It is advisable to take note of who’s more likely to be enjoying within the exams. When Murray is bodily match, he is midway forward of Gareth Davies or Ali Worth.

I do not assume Farrell even comes near guaranteeing a check spot. Maro can be proper within the combine, however I do not assume it was good for him enjoying within the championship with Saracens.

Nonetheless, I understood that he’s very revered within the group and sits on social committees.

Murray is not your archetypal naughty Scrum half. He is extra of a politician, a manager-type of the Scrum half.

I feel his place is shut sufficient to the motion that the referee has absolute respect for what he is speaking about and Conor is world class.

“Covid Protocols Will Be Mentally Harsh”

Iain Henderson's kit is sprayed with disinfectant
The tools of the British and Irish Lions was disinfected on arrival in South Africa

Along with shedding their skipper, the Lions have to deal with the sport and coaching in a extreme coronavirus bubble.

South Africa is battling a 3rd wave and the Springboks not too long ago introduced three optimistic exams of their warehouse.

From the Lions perspective, it will sharpen their deal with Covid logs which I do know are already razor sharp.

It will likely be very tough mentally for these gamers. It is advisable to be disciplined.

There may be the slightest probability that should you get a number of instances and it will increase, the place is the tour?

That can be on gamers’ minds, in addition to the rest they should deal with.

The tough factor about Lions is that what they do off the sphere is so vital in bringing all of them collectively.

In Jersey they might play paddle boarding and golf. With out issues like that, you do not essentially get that final bond.

I am out of the camp and I do not know, however I can solely think about that it’s fairly tough and irritating.

Successful would assist. In case you win your video games, there isn’t any should be alarmed.

Matt Dawson spoke to BBC Sport’s Becky Grey.



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