B&I Lions teammates in big face-off

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 06:21
Large maro itoje quote 800

SIX NATIONS SPOTLIGHT: Former British and Irish Lions roommates Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones will become fierce opponents when England face Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday.

Both teams head into the second-round fixture on the back of convincing wins last weekend, with the battle between powerhouse forwards Itoje and Jones one of several intriguing duels in this Anglo-Welsh clash.

The duo struck up a friendship during the Lions' tour of New Zealand last year, where a combined side coached by Wales boss Warren Gatland defied the predictions of many pundits to hold the world champion All Blacks to a 1-1 draw in a three-match series.

Off the field, they have since engaged in a series of light-hearted exchanges, with England rising star Itoje pointing out that Jones is becoming increasingly bald, while the Welsh great has 'complained' about the refusal of the Saracens second row to share his cocoa butter.

"We got on very well during the Lions tour, although his musical tastes are very different to mine," Itoje said.

"He let his hair down. I'm fortunate enough to have quite long, free-flowing hair. He's severely balding, but I think he's come to terms with that now."

As for Jones's cocoa butter moan, Itoje replied: "First of all he didn't ask and secondly he doesn't use it. He'll be all right."

Itoje is still at the start of his Test career, with 18 caps compared to the 123 won by veteran lock Jones.

"Alun's very professional, trains hard and is diligent with his preparation," Itoje said.

"Obviously going on tour you spend time with the other home nations and you pick up things.

"Alun has a good work rate and works very hard. He's a nice guy as well. I got on very well with him on tour. It was a good experience."

However, Itoje added: "But that isn't even in the slightest bit difficult for me. It's a completely different setting, different team, different environment.

"There will be a lot of passion. It will be intense. It will be physical. It is a great game to be a part of and I'm sure Twickenham will be rocking."

Tuesday saw Gatland name the same Wales starting XV that impressed in a 34-7 thrashing of Scotland in Cardiff last weekend, with the only change coming on the bench as fit-again wing George North replaced Owen Watkin.

England boss Eddie Jones is due to reveal his side on Thursday and only one change to the matchday 23 that overpowered Italy 46-15 is expected.

Richard Wigglesworth is set to provide bench cover for scrumhalf Danny Care after England's first-choice No.9 Ben Youngs suffered a tournament-ending knee injury at Rome's Stadio Olimpico last Sunday.

Agence France-Presse

Bulls vs Rebels
sast: 15h05 | local: 15h05

  • 7 | 0
LIVE
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 April 2018
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 5 0 0 26
Wales 5 3 0 2 15
Scotland 5 3 0 2 13
France 5 2 0 3 11
England 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 1