Jones eyes England scalp

Wales veteran expects tough time at Twickenham

Last Updated: 20/02/12 10:02pm

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Ryan Jones: Wales forward has twice previously won the Grand Slam

Ryan Jones: Wales forward has twice previously won the Grand Slam

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Double Grand Slam winner and record-equalling Wales captain Ryan Jones knows what it takes to topple England at Twickenham.

If Wales can claim only their second Twickenham triumph against England in 24 years next Saturday, then Jones will be more than halfway towards landing a third Six Nations clean sweep of his 60-cap international career.

Jones, who matched Ieuan Evans' feat of captaining Wales 28 times when Scotland were defeated in Cardiff, will be 31 four days before a possible title decider and Grand Slam clash against France.

He also has the rare recent distinction among Wales skippers of leading his team to victory at English rugby headquarters. On that occasion four years ago, it kick-started a Six Nations title and Grand Slam season.

"You focus solely on your job, what is required of you and what it takes to win. International rugby is win at all costs."
Ryan Jones Quotes of the week

But unsurprisingly, for a player of such experience and stature, Jones gives short shrift to those who have suggested that Wales only need turn up next weekend and England will be sunk.

Win at all costs

"For us to go up there and win, we are going to need a good set-piece, we will need to be disciplined and we are going to have to be clinical," he said.

"As soon as that first kick goes up in the air there is nothing in your mind that says 'we are favourites to win this, or we are the underdog'.

"You focus solely on your job, what is required of you and what it takes to win. International rugby is win at all costs.

"You have got to limit your mistakes. All teams create mistakes, and it is how you are punished for those mistakes.

"If you can minimise that punishment in terms of points scored against you, then you can win rugby matches.

"Twickenham is a tough place to go. They will be looking to impose themselves on us with their set-piece game, I would imagine, and we have got to be ready for that.

"When we there four years ago, we got caught early on, but because we minimised the damage done in that period we were still in contention at half-time.

"What is great about this Wales team is that we've been far more clinical than we possibly have been in the past. We've always been relatively creative, but now I think we are taking the opportunities and scoring."

Youthful exuberance

Almost half of Jones' Test caps have come in the Six Nations environment, and whether it is the back-row, second-row or as a replacement, he still offers Wales so much.

"The challenge for guys like myself is that when you are given the opportunity to try to take it. It's a bit like the old dog among the young puppies, that's the truth of it!" he added.

"I have been involved in squads when there has been an older element, squads where there has been a good spread, and the situation we are now in where the majority of players are younger players.

"There is the youthful exuberance, and you couple that with an experience and maturity and you strike a balance. All the kids involved are great kids, and nice people with it, which is what makes it such an enjoyable place to be.

"I'm incredibly enthusiastic. I love playing rugby, I love competing on a Saturday and I love playing in big games with big crowds.

"That is what it is all about. Once you achieve it, you continually strive to replicate it."

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