Alun Wyn Jones has made a remarkable recovery after suffering a dislocated shoulder… but should he start for the Lions on Saturday? MIKE BROWN and Mail on Sunday rugby correspondent NIK SIMON disagree
- Alun Wyn Jones suffered a discolated shoulder against Japan three weeks ago
- However, the Welshman recovered to play 27 minutes against the Stormers
- Mike Brown doesn’t believes the 35-year-old can be trusted to start yet though
- But Nik Simon feels Jones’ experience is wasted by leaving him on the bench
- Mike feels Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw should start ahead of Owen Farrell
- Nik also thinks Luke Cowan-Dickie is in strong contention to start on Saturday
After dislocating a shoulder against Japan three weeks ago and seeing his Lions captaincy temporarily handed to Conor Murray, Alun Wyn Jones has recovered remarkably.
The 35-year-old made his return in the 49-3 over the Stormers on Saturday, coming on for the final whistle.
But should the lock start in the first Test next weekend? England full back Mike Brown and Mail on Sunday rugby correspondent Nik Simon air their views.
Alun Wyn Jones has made a remarkable comeback – but should he start the first Lions Test?
Should miracle man start the first Test?
Mike Brown: NO
As a full back, my instinct is to look to the back three. Aerial ability is key — so Josh Adams, Liam Williams and Anthony Watson make it into my first Test XV.
Adams is the try scorer, Watson is electric and Williams has great counter-attacking ability.
I don’t think Owen Farrell has played well enough to start, so I have gone for the old Connacht partnership of Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw.
Mike Brown says the risk of Jones’ shoulder going again is too great to start him on Saturday
At blindside flanker I like Courtney Lawes for his lineout prowess. He’s been class so far.
When it comes to Alun Wyn Jones, I’m just not sure he can come straight in. And for me he starts or doesn’t play.
The Lions can’t have him coming on and find his shoulder going again, as they would be short at lock for the rest of the game.
Nik Simon: YES
There are more versatile players than Alun Wyn Jones to fill the bench. I do not see the value in having Jones’ aura on the sidelines.
Make him captain and surround him with experienced combinations that have proven their ability to deliver on the biggest stage.
The midfield is a contentious area, as Chris Harris has been the in-form centre. But Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw have played together for club and country, so offer an oven-ready partnership to handle the heavyweight Springboks midfield.
Nik Simon believes someone of the Welshman’s stature is too valuable to be left on the bench
Gatland needs to find a balance between form and reputation. Duhan van der Merwe and Ali Price would be unfortunate to miss out, but Luke Cowan-Dickie had made himself hard to overlook.
Gatland gambled by selecting all of the Saracens’ contingent off the back of their season in the Championship and, for me, only Maro Itoje is a cert for the Test team.
Share this article
Source: Read Full Article