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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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 27 April 2018
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 18h45 Welford Road
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Kings v Cheetahs 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 14h00 Sandy Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 14h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Bath 14h00 Kingsholm
Connacht v Leinster 14h05 Sportsground
Dragons v Scarlets 14h05 Rodney Parade
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Treviso v Zebre 16h00 Stadio Monigo
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 16h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Munster v Ulster 16h35 Thomond Park
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 Myreside
Sun, 29 April 2018
London Irish v Saracens 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Wasps v Northampton Saints 14h00 Ricoh Arena
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
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