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05th May 2021

Alun Wyn Jones to captain Lions while Simmonds and Healy set to travel

Patrick McCarry


Strong reports of the Welshman captaining the Lions first emerged over the weekend.

Unwanted by Eddie Jones, Sam Simmonds is set for some fantastic Lions news.

Very reliable on their British & Irish Lions takes, The Telegraph is reporting that Exeter No.8 Simmonds is set to make the squad when it is announced, on Thursday afternoon.

The headline news from the report is that Alun Wyn Jones will be tour captain – on his fourth Lions tour – but that was a foregone conclusion as soon as he led Wales to the 2021 Six Nations title.

Jones was part of the 2013 and 2017 tours, when Warren Gatland was also head coach, and he featured in the Test Series on the last occasion the Lions went to South Africa, in 2009.

News that Simmonds, the 2019/20 European Player of the Year, is set to be included will hearten Exeter Chiefs fans, in particular, and every rugby supporter that was perplexed as to why England coach Eddie Jones had not selected him since 2018.

The report also covers a couple of big calls in the front row, and area that was discussed with South African reporter Brenden Nel [LISTEN from 28:30 below] on the latest House of Rugby Ireland episode.

While Brenden Nel and Ian Madigan agreed on 13 certainties to make the Lions squad, the Ulster outhalf was not completely sold that Jamie George would travel to South Africa.

“Ken Owens is probably the only hooker guaranteed,” said Madigan. “Jamie George hasn’t played top level rugby, so you’re taking a big risk there.”

However, The Telegraph are reporting that George will make his second Lions tour, along with Wales hooker Ken Owens. The third hooker is saod to be Simmonds’ Exeter teammate Luke Cowan-Dickie. That means Ireland’s two best hopes, Ronan Kelleher and Rob Herring, will miss out.

There is more positive news on Cian Healy [pictured above]. The Leinster loosehead, who last toured with the Lions in 2013, looks set to travel, as does Saracens and England star Mako Vunipola.

Scotland’s Rory Sutherland is currently out injured and England looseheads Joe Marler and Ellis Genge both confirmed that they had not received emails, last week, informing them they were in the squad shortlist.

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