Alun-Wyn Jones says Wales will have tough task in South Africa
Last Updated: 17/03/14 3:57pm
Alun-Wyn Jones hopes Wales will be able to compete with South Africa later this year after a generally disappointing Six Nations.
Warren Gatland's side went into the competition looking to complete an unprecedented title hat-trick, but defeats in Ireland and England meant their superb home form counted for nothing.
Jones knows Wales are capable of a lot better than a third-placed finish in Europe's top international tournament and will have to up their game in South Africa especially if, as expected, captain Sam Warburton and full-back Leigh Halfpenny are unavailable.
"We can be happy with three home wins, but obviously we are bitterly disappointed with the two away losses and performances," said Jones, who could well be named captain against the Springboks.
"Our ambition is way beyond what we have done here. We've shown that in the past two years, and that is not going to wane. It just wasn't to be this time around."
"Ireland was massively disappointing because we didn't get our game going, then against England we didn't take our opportunities.
"So it was a bit of a mixed bag, but a few years back we probably would have been happy with three home wins.
"Our ambition is way beyond what we have done here. We've shown that in the past two years, and that is not going to wane. It just wasn't to be this time around.
"(South Africa) is going to be a difficult ask. You can chuck in all the statistics you want about being jaded. We are going to get tired, anyway, because it's the end of the season. Summer tours are difficult from that point of view, anyway.
"It (fatigue) can be a convenient excuse, but there are a lot of people with different amounts of game-time. Some boys who travel may not have played a lot of rugby in this Six Nations, but they are still away from home, so it's different for everyone.
"If we (Ospreys) can get into the (RaboDirect PRO12) play-offs, happy days, because you are playing rugby for longer. You don't have the down-time and you are ready for another international.
"If you stop playing four or five weeks before the tour you have a week to get up to speed. We don't want to get caught cold like we were in the autumn. It's Catch-22, I suppose."