British & Irish Lions’ fearless captain Jones in profile ahead of Japan opener

The British and Irish Lions will be skippered by Wales legend Alun Wyn Jones this Saturday against Japan after he was named as captain of the summer tour last month.

It came as no surprise when head coach Warren Gatland named Jones, despite some fans wanting to see England's Maro Itoje or Owen Farrell in the role.

The inevitability of Jones' Lions position comes after he has been a stalwart for his country.

The star was named the official captain for Wales in 2017 and he has since lead his team to two Six Nations titles and a fourth place finish at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He is also the most capped international of all time, picking up the record when he played in his 149th test in October 2020.

And he has an impeccable record for the Lions, captaining the side for a match in 2013 when skipper Sam Warburton was injured.

Here is all you need to know about Jones' Lions career to date before he starts his tour as a captain.

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When did he make his playing debut?

Jones first took to the field for the Lions on June 20 2009 during their tour to South Africa.

The three tests ended in a Springboks victory as they won two matches and lost one.

Records

The 35-year-old has become the oldest Lions captain in the professional era.

He has been a part of the tour loss to South Africa in 2009, tour victory against Australia in 2013 and tour draw against New Zealand in 2017.

And the star is among a handful of players who have featured in the most consecutive matches for the team.

AWJ has played in the last nine tests, spanning three tours, and he will add to them this summer.

What has he said about captaincy

Jones is famously modest about his achievements but he has spoken about the honour of being named captain.

He said: "I'm very proud and very privileged. To be selected in the squad is initially what you want as a player so to have the armband is a privilege.

"I had a call from Gats on Sunday evening. It was actually a missed call so I thought I better give him a call back. Obviously I accepted."

And former Wales coach Gatland added: “I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with him for a number of years, he was the only player in the Welsh squad who was there before me, so he’s had a huge amount of experience.

“I think the last few years he’s done an incredible job in terms of leading Wales. He has captained a Lions team in the third Test in 2013, which was a pretty good performance.

“For me, picking someone who comes from a team that’s won the Six Nations, who has respect, has been there and done that, it was a relatively easy decision.”

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