Alun Wyn Jones 'needs 20 minutes' to become Test candidate - Gatland

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·2-min read
Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones takes a breather during a Six Nations match against France in Paris last March
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Alun Wyn Jones is set to cap a remarkable recovery from a shoulder injury by playing for the British and Irish Lions against the Stormers at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Warren Gatland said on Thursday that Wyn Jones would take the field as a replacement in the second half of the Lions' final match before the first Test against the Springboks at the same venue on July 24.

"He needs 20 minutes," said Gatland. "I know he's travelled and only arrived today, but if he's in contention for next week he needs to have a run."

The veteran Wales lock was named in the matchday squad just hours after arriving in South Africa on Thursday.

Wyn Jones was due to captain the tour party before being injured in a pre-tour match against Japan on June 26 -- an injury which initially ruled him out of the tour.

His selection as a replacement could be significant because Gatland said later in Thursday's press conference that the strength of the Lions bench would be crucial in the three Tests against the world champion Springboks.

"The games are going to be very physical so impact off the bench will be important," said Gatland.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg will captain a completely new team from that beaten 17-13 by South Africa A in a bruising encounter on Wednesday.

England fly-half Marcus Smith will make his Lions debut after joining the squad earlier in the week while Irish centre Robbie Henshaw returns to action after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Gatland said the Lions had come through a highly physical match against South Africa A "pretty much intact" although full-back Liam Williams will have to go through a return-to-play protocol after suffering a head injury.

"We learnt a lot from Wednesday's game and I hope the defeat will serve us well. There're still some areas of the game we need to tighten up on, particularly reducing our turnover rate."

Gatland repeated his concern about the decision to give only a yellow card to Springbok scrum-half Faf de Klerk during Wednesday's match.

"I can't understand the comments that there was no contact with the head. It looked reckless to me, no arms and there was definitely contact on the head.

"We'll be having a meeting with the referees tomorrow to get more clarity," said Gatland.

Lions team (15-1)

Stuart Hogg (capt); Josh Adams, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Duhan van der Merwe; Marcus Smith, Ali Price; Jack Conan, Hamish Watson, Tadhg Beirne; Jonny Hill, Adam Beard; Tadhg Furlong, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Rory Sutherland

Replacements: Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Zander Fagerson, Alun Wyn Jones, Sam Simmonds, Gareth Davies, Chris Harris, Louis Rees-Zammit

Coach: Warren Gatland (NZL)

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