Legendary former Springbok captain John Smit has come to the defence of under-fire British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones, whom he believes embodies the spirit of rugby more than any other player.
Many column inches have been dedicated to dissect the impact – or lack thereof – the Wales and Lions captain will have in the three-Test series against the Springboks, but World Cup champion and Lions series winner Smit said the 35-year-old Jones still poses a threat if his performances in Wales’ title-winning Six Nations campaign are anything to go by.
Speaking to RugbyPass.com, he said: “For me, I really have to talk to Alun Wyn Jones and his story.
“How he has been able to manage his body, because he plays a physical game of rugby and still be so good at his age, that really is what embodies the spirit of the British & Irish Lions. It’s that tenacity, the toughness and the gutsing it out.
“He’s been the captain of a very successful Welsh team and he is the right choice, the right captain. He is a man who has the respect of everyone around him, even his opposition.”
Smit is the second World Cup and Lions series-winning Bok that has come to Jones’ defence, after Victor Matfield denounced the notion that the Lions captain is too old as ‘nonsense’.
Photo: Lions Rugby