Solely focused on France says Wales skipper

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 15:30
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SIX NATIONS BUILD-UP: Wales's sole focus against France is a bonus-point victory that would guarantee the second spot in the Six Nations, according to captain Alun Wyn Jones.

Jones, who was rested for last week's victory over Italy, is back to skipper a team showing seven changes as coach Warren Gatland looks to finish the tournament on a high on Saturday.

"If we win we'll get second and that's the aim," said Jones.

"That's the best possible finish we can aim for with Ireland having won the championship. It's a definite focus for us."

Jones added: "We're disappointed not to be vying for the championship in the last game, but there are pleasing points in the performances that we've shown.

"A lot of players have had opportunities, and hopefully the strength in depth is there.

"We are nowhere near the finished article, but you never want to be, really. You want to have something left in the tank, and we are in a good place, moving forward."

But the lock said France were a dangerous side whose performances this season were realistically a lot better than predicted.

They only lost to Ireland thanks to Jonny Sexton's last-gasp long-range drop goal and last week outplayed England.

"If you look at their narrow loss to Ireland, I think the performance they put in there was a standout performance. It was a testament to how far they've come," Jones said.

"There have obviously been a lot of changes for one reason or another throughout the campaign.

"A French side home or away is very dangerous, and we will expect that tomorrow."

Jones was speaking after re-signing a dual contract with his club Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union, in what is a huge boost for the WRU in its efforts to keep leading players at home.

The 32-year-old, capped 116 times by Wales and nine times by the British and Irish Lions, is in his 13th season with the Ospreys having come through the development pathway and is joint second in the all-time list of appearances on 223, 110 of them as captain.

Jones, who toured with the Lions for a third time last summer, first signed a dual contract in March 2015 and re-signed in January 2016.

"I'm thankful for the collaboration between the WRU and Ospreys which will look after my best interests and enables me to play the best rugby possible," said Jones.

"To be continuing my journey with the Ospreys is probably something I wouldn't have predicted at the start of my career but having the opportunity to sign a new dual contract at this point helps with the quality and quantity of the rugby that I play and hopefully will prolong my playing opportunities."

Agence France-Presse

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Team P W D L Pts
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Wales 5 3 0 2 15
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France 5 2 0 3 11
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Italy 5 0 0 5 1