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Jones challenges Lions to finish the job

Alun Wyn Jones (centre) leads the pre-match huddle for the British & Irish Lions ahead of their first Test with South Africa. Credit: INPHO

Jones challenges Lions to finish the job

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British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones told his team they have achieved nothing yet despite a thrilling 22-17 first Test win over South Africa in Cape Town.

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Warren Gatland’s side went to the break 12-3 down and needing a remarkable turnaround to come out on top, but that is exactly what they produced to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

A try from Luke Cowan-Dickie, the boot of Dan Biggar, and a late penalty from Owen Farrell guided the Lions home with two more Tests at Cape Town Stadium to come.

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“We know what we’ve achieved, but we also know what we haven’t achieved. There is still plenty to do and this is a three-Test series,” Jones said.

“Knowing the calibre of player and the attitude our opposition have, we have to be better again – first and foremost within ourselves.

“But we also have to deal with what we know is going to come next weekend.

“There were smiles after the game. In any sport, you have to enjoy moments like this as they don’t come round very often.

“But the caveat to that is we are only a third done and that message has already been planted. It’s a time for everyone to take stock of where we are and be ready to move on to next weekend.”

South Africa scored a second-half try through Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard kicked the rest of their points, but the Lions gained the upper hand on the Springboks in the second half.

Jones and his fellow forwards got on top of South Africa physically which played a big part in the team’s victory. Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes joined Jones in having outstanding games.

Now the focus switches to the second Test on Saturday.

Jones said the strength of Gatland’s squad will come into focus this week.

“Everybody has been part of this from the start of the tour and they still are. A squad wins a series and that has in no way, shape or form diluted how we will enjoy this win,” he said.

“But the focus will come pretty quickly on Monday when we’re straight back into it.

“We were pretty composed at half time. I wouldn’t say disappointed, probably more frustrated by the fact we put pressure on ourselves.

“Our kicking game got better in the second half and the set-piece became prevalent.

“We can be pleased, but there are definitely things to work on from the early part of the game.”

Jones played the full 80 minutes of the first Test which was remarkable given he has only just recovered from a dislocated shoulder which forced him to miss the start of the Lions tour.

He made 10 tackles over the course of the match and went toe-to-toe with the giant South African lock pairing of Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert.

“I feel like I’ve been in a Test! My effort was borne out of getting back into this group,” Jones said.

“I didn’t know I was going to be selected but I’m happy to be part of it and add to the energy the guys brought.”

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