WALES skipper Alun-Wyn Jones will captain the British & Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer.

Wales great Jones, 35, was confirmed as captain for what will be his fourth Lions tour as ex-Wales coach Warren Gatland made a few bold and several controversial selections for his 37-man squad – that includes 10 of Wales’ Six Nation-winning campaign earlier this year.

Joining Llandovery College product Jones is another Llandovery lad in prop Wyn Jones, as well as flanker/Number 8 Taulupe Faletau, hooker Ken Owens and flanker Justin Tipuric. In the backs, Wales wingers Josh Adams and the exciting Lewis Rees-Zammit are selected, as are half-backs Dan Biggar and Gareth Davies and full-back Liam Williams.

Llandovery College tweeted their congratulations for former pupil Alun-Wyn, who became international rugby’s most capped player ever last October when he earned cap 149 against Scotland, overtaking the record held by All Blacks icon Richie McCaw.

“Our Old Boy, Alun Wyn Jones, has been named as the captain of the British & Irish Lions squad for 2021 South Africa Tour,” said Llandovery College.

“He is such an exceptional leader and we are incredibly proud of him. Congratulations to Alun and the squad, we will be supporting you! #lionssa2021.”

Exeter's Sam Simmonds is included ahead of fellow England number eight Billy Vunipola, with two-time tourist Johnny Sexton also left out. England's Jonny May and Henry Slade are left out as is 2013 tourist Manu Tuilagi, who last played in September because of an Achilles injury, and Wales centre Jonathan Davies. Another notable omission is England prop Kyle Sinckler, while Sam Underhill and Josh Navidi miss out on places in the competitive back-row positions, and Ireland pair James Ryan and Garry Ringrose also failed to make the cut.

England, who finished a disappointing fifth in the Six Nations, surprisingly dominate the squad with 11 players. Scotland and Ireland each have eight.

Due to the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, reports started emerging in early 2021 that the tour could be held in the UK instead of South Africa, postponed to 2022 or cancelled altogether. But it was confirmed in March the tour would go ahead as planned.

It will be a slightly reduced tour schedule though. The Lions will play a three-match test series against the Springboks but, unlike previous series, there will only be five additional games, making a total of eight.

Gatland’s men will play a warm-up game against Japan at Scotland’s Murrayfield on June 26. The tour then begins in Cape Town against the Stormers on July 3; South Africa Invitational in Port Elizabeth on July 7; the Sharks in Durban on July 10; South Africa A on July 14 in Nelspruit and the Bulls in Pretoria on July 17.

They’ll end the tour with the Test series, taking on South Africa in the first game on July 24 in Johannesburg; the second match will be on July 31 in Cape Town and the third encounter will be on August 7 at Johannesburg’s Ellis Park.

Lions squad for South Africa:

Forwards: Tadhg Beirne (Ire), Jack Conan (Ire), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Eng), Tom Curry (Eng), Zander Fagerson (Sco), Taulupe Faletau (Wal), Tadhg Furlong (Ire), Jamie George (Eng), Iain Henderson (Ire), Jonny Hill (Eng), Maro Itoje (Eng), Wyn Jones (Wal), Courtney Lawes (Eng), Ken Owens (Wal), Andrew Porter (Ire), Sam Simmonds (Eng), Rory Sutherland (Sco), Justin Tipuric (Wal), Mako Vunipola (Eng), Hamish Watson (Sco)

Backs: Josh Adams (Wal), Bundee Aki (Ire), Dan Biggar (Wal), Elliot Daly (Eng), Gareth Davies (Wal), Owen Farrell (Eng), Chris Harris (Sco), Robbie Henshaw (Ire), Stuart Hogg (Sco), Conor Murray (Ire), Ali Price (Sco), Lewis Rees-Zammit (Wal), Finn Russell (Sco), Duhan van der Merwe (Sco), Anthony Watson (Eng), Liam Williams (Wal)