British and Irish Lions 2021: Wyn Jones' journey from Llandovery farm to Lions front-row

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Wales prop Wyn Jones has made an impressive start to his first Lions tour and scored against South Africa A
Wales prop Wyn Jones has made an impressive start to his first Lions tour and scored a try against South Africa A
South Africa v British and Irish Lions - first Test
Venue: Cape Town Stadium Date: Saturday, 24 July Kick-off: 17:00 BST
Coverage: Follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

From a Llandovery farm to anchoring the British and Irish Lions Test front-row.

It has been quite the journey for Wales prop Wyn Jones as he prepares to run out in Cape Town to face the Springboks.

Five years ago ago he was still playing for club side Llandovery alongside Ireland back-rower and now fellow Lion Tadgh Beirne in the Welsh Premiership.

After making his debut against Tonga in Auckland in 2017, Jones has played 35 times for Wales and is now the premier Lions loose-head.

"It has been a whirlwind and I have not had much time to think," said Jones.

"I have enjoyed it in every team we have played in and taken every step as it comes.

"I have just tried to take every opportunity as they have presented themselves. Both me and Tadgh probably did it old school, a different way I suppose.

"Everybody is a bit different and I am proud of the way I have managed to do it."

Jones, 29, has had to contend with being away from his farm - his life outside rugby.

"I keep in touch with the farm daily and see what they have been up to and what I am missing," said Jones.

"The farm is in safe hands with everybody back home and my sole focus is the rugby and getting myself through this."

Jones' journey was completed when he was named in the side this week ahead of Rory Sutherland and Mako Vunipola.

"It was a pretty nerve-racking meeting. We knew Gats (Warren Gatland) was going to name the team," said Jones.

'He's been around for a while!' - Gatland on Jones

"It was a massive honour to hear your name read out, so I'm overwhelmed and can't wait to get into it."

Jones is one of three Welsh starters this weekend and admits he is regularly mixed up with one of them, his illustrious Lions skipper, second-row Alun Wyn.

The Jones boys do not look alike, play in different positions and there are six years between them, but their similar names present their challenges.

"We have had a few mix-ups, even with the kit here," said Jones.

"He is AWJ, I'm WJ, so then the bags sometimes have Jones on them, or Wyn Jones. I think when we got to our first meet-up, I had a Wyn Jones bag and another Jones bag. One of those was for Alun, the other one was for myself.

"So we do sometimes get mixed up but sadly we haven't mixed rooms up. He's still got the suite and I'm in the normal room.

"It's the same on Twitter, I get tagged as Wales captain, I don't know how many times. I get a lot of requests asking if I can do a message - they think I'm Alun Wyn!"

Captain Jones has made a miraculous recovery from a dislocated shoulder suffered against Japan at Murrayfield to lead the Lions in the first Test against South Africa four weeks later.

"I was gutted for Al initially having to go home from Edinburgh and not being able to fly out with us and it was a big blow for the team," said the Scarlets prop.

Wyn Jones (L) and Alun Wyn Jones
Wyn Jones (L) says there has even been confusion on the Lions tour involving kit between him and captain Alun Wyn Jones

"If anybody could come back, it is Alun. I'm chuffed and it's a massive boost for us. He talks well, is a great motivator and pushes training standards.

"He knows exactly when to say the right things, leads by example and generally gets everything right. He's a leader, someone you follow into battle."

That latest battle will be taming the Springboks, who Jones rates as the best scrummaging side in the world.

"They are going to be strong in the set-piece and that's something as a front-row forward you relish," added Jones.

"They are a good heavy pack who scrummage as an eight and probably won the World Cup because of their set-piece.

"The thing with the scrum, especially against the Springboks, is you have got to get every one right. If you get one wrong, they punish you.

"I will be looking after our scrum and making sure we don't let them get a foothold in the game."

Jones has already ended up on a losing side against the Springboks in a significant match, having been part of the Wales team beaten in the 2019 World Cup semi-final.

"In these big games everyone steps up their game, they are not world champions for nothing," said Jones.

"They won the World Cup, are the best team in the world and you want to challenge yourself against the best. Saturday is a great opportunity for us and just makes the occasion even better."

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