Alun Wyn Jones gets the last laugh over the Boks with his dream pack
British & Irish Lions and Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones recently shared his dream pack for World Rugby, and it surprisingly does not contain any South African player that triumphed over his Lions this year.
Four Welshman make the eight, with the remaining four places being split between England’s Kyle Sinckler, Ireland’s Paul O’Connell, the All Blacks’ Richie McCaw and 2009 Lions series winning Springbok Bakkies Botha. Coincidentally, Jones also played in the 09 series against the Springboks, but no player from the current crop makes his list.
Not only did the world number ones triumph over the Lions this year in the most testing of circumstances, but they did it through sheer brutality and force in the pack, with many of Jones’ opponents putting their hands up to make his eight. Not only that, but more or less the same squad triumphed over his Wales team two years before in the World Cup semi-finals before lifting the Webb Ellis Cup a week later.
Take a look at the pack:
The four Welshman to make Jones’ list are loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins, hooker Ken Owens, flanker Sam Warburton and No8 Taulupe Faletau. Both the hooker and the No8 were in the same squad that fell short against the Springboks earlier this year, while Warburton captained the Lions to a series win over Australia in 2013 and a drawn series against the All Blacks in 2017.
Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager and Siya Kolisi are just some of the players who faced the Lions this year that could easily have made Jones’ eight, while the likes of Tendai Mtawarira and Duane Vermeulen are other world class names from 2019 (Vermeulen missed the Lions series through injury). Of course this is just a matter of opinion, but after inflicting so much pain on the 161-cap veteran in recent years, it may be a little surprising that no current Springbok makes his list.