Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones has taken some value out of the incident which nearly rendered him unavailable for the 2021 series in South Africa.
Jones dislocated his shoulder just 7 minutes into the Lions’ first warm-up game against Japan at Murrayfield. The look on his face as he left the field suggested that it was as far as the 2021 series would take him.
However, somewhat miraculously, Jones recovered from his injury in time to run out against the Stormers in the Lions’ final warm-up game and will now lead the side in the first Test.
Speaking to irishexaminer.com, Jones relived the experience:
“I can’t swear on here, so I won’t go into too much detail,” he said. “I think I was at home on the sofa before the guys had even got to the airport on the Sunday.
“That was a tough one. Fast-forward to the Tuesday, when I was told there was a chance it was bordering on surreal. To be here, take knocks and bumps and be in amongst it with the group it means more. I’m not going to lie, it means more.
“I spent the first few weeks getting to know people, we were bedded in in the rugby. I had the seven minutes and for two days that was my tour done.
“I had the decent news on the Tuesday. Sometimes all you need is a chance – I was willing to work hard and get myself right, and make it difficult for the guy next to me, and to make myself available for selection.
“It has been pretty whistle stop for me since I spoke to Gats and some of the management about being involved on Saturday literally off the plane because we hadn’t really got that far because the timelines had moved forward a little bit.
“I was fortunate enough to get some game time on Saturday and put myself in contention. To be sitting here now and to be involved in the Test team is everything I have ever worked for really over the last, I would be lying if I said it was two years, it is probably four years.
“Obviously when you finish a series or a tour you don’t know whether you are going to tour next and a lot of games go under the bridge. To be sitting here now is a very, very special thing but it is only a very short step to what is going to be hopefully a very enjoyable week.”