'Ryan's ready to be a real lionheart'
WORLD Cup winner Jason Robinson believes Ryan Jones is making all the right noises to be included in this summer's Lions tour to Australia.
Jones, who will be 32 next week, has retained the Wales captaincy for this weekend's Six Nations fixture against Scotland at Murrayfield despite the return to the starting line-up of flanker Sam Warburton.
Jones first led Wales in 2008 and immediately delivered the Grand Slam, while later that season he was nominated alongside four other players for the IRB World Player of the year.
The Welsh international has a pedigree with the Lions; having been called up to both the 2005 and 2009 tours and according to Robinson, inset, right, his performances and leadership have catapulted Jones into serious contention for a third successive call-up.
"He is gaining more and more confidence each game that he plays and has got a lot of experience behind him as well, so he's certainly a serious contender in my mind," said Robinson.
"He has been there and done it before and it seems that the challenge and opportunity he has got with Wales, he is taking full advantage of.
"It is good for Welsh rugby and certainly good for the Lions tour and for every player.
"You have got to be making a noise on that field in order to attract the attentions of Warren Gatland and Ryan is demonstrating that.
"There are sometimes battles within games where you have to beat your opposite number and you need to be dominant and that will give you a boost.
"You want people to keep seeing the impact you have on a game and hopefully when May comes you are going to get the nod so it is hotting up nicely right now for Ryan Jones."
Although involved in both 2005 and 2009, Jones will be hoping to be named in the initial tour party this time around for the trip to Australia, having been a replacement on the two previous Lions exertions.
"The Lions tour is an amazing experience," said Robinson. "Having played on two it is something you will never forget and it is the ultimate test and challenge.
"Being selected is one thing but coming back with a series win is what everyone is striving for.
"During my two trips we weren't able to do that. We should have done it in 2001 and we were well beaten in 2005 but the Lions certainly came a lot closer in 2009 and I have a good feeling about this time."
Jason Robinson is an ambassador for the Rosslyn Park HSBC National Schools Sevens.