Alun Wyn Jones will return from South Africa 'an absolute hero', says former Lions captain Gavin Hastings

  • Former Lions captain Gavin Hastings speaking to ITV News

British and Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones has an opportunity to return from the South Africa tour "an absolute hero", according to former Lions captain Gavin Hastings.

Jones was named captain of this year's British and Irish Lions side in May, something he described as "a privilege".

Speaking to ITV News on Sunday Hastings said he believed Jones had all the necessary attributes to be a successful leader.

"For Alun Wyn there's a lot to deal with. He's going to have to deal with a lot of the media, he's going to have to deal with a lot of speaking and it's part and parcel of being Lions captain.

"Alun Wyn is a very experienced man. He's on his fourth Lions tour which is just extraordinary in the modern era and I think only Brian O'Driscoll has achieved that since the game went professional.

"He's an awesome player and he'll be a great leader for the Lions and he will come back an absolute hero were they to win two out of the three test matches."

Gavin Hastings was a Scottish international and former Lions captain Credit: PA Images

Ahead of the Test matches the British and Irish Lions begin their run of games with a clash against Japan, at Murrayfield, on June 26.

The South Africa tour then begins with a match against the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg on July 3.

Discussing what he felt it takes to be a successful captain, Hastings said there were a variety of skills any British and Irish Lions leader would need.

"I think it takes a lot of belief in yourself as an individual as well as somebody who feels that they are representative of the team," he said.

Alun Wyn Jones has enjoyed a glittering rugby career thus far Credit: PA Images

Alun Wyn Jones was an integral figure in Wales' recent successful Six Nations campaign, with Wayne Pivac's side winning the title and narrowly missing out on another Grand Slam with a late defeat to France in Paris.

Jones, 35, is currently Wales' most capped player with 148 caps to his name and is the most capped player in international rugby history.

He has won nine Test caps, more than any other player in the professional era.

In 2013, when he was handed the Lions captaincy after Sam Warburton suffered an injury, he helped take the team to a third Test win in Sydney to secure a first series win in 16 years.