SIX NATIONS: Wales put off-field politics on hold
Wales will move to within one win of securing the Six Nations title and a Grand Slam if they beat Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.
But a debate is raging about so-called ‘Project Reset’ and how Wales’ professional regional game will look from next season. Talks at Wales’ Professional Rugby Board level now appear to be deadlocked, with a proposed Scarlets-Ospreys merger off the table and considerable uncertainty remains.
“For us, it’s not a case of carry on regardless, it’s a case of being sympathetic to the situation,” Wales skipper Jones said. “Obviously, we want a few more answers after the Six Nations, but we’ve got a job to get on with. Whatever career you are in, you always have other distractions.
“Ultimately, we are professional rugby people and we focus on the rugby. That’s the easy bit. We are not politicians, so we don’t have to delve too much into that. We’ve got a lot of experienced players in this team, and we can’t forget that.
“It has been nice to be able to have the outlet that is rugby and have an away game, which has been a blessing in the last week. Like I say, we’ve built through the week and we’ve got a game tomorrow, and that’s the job we face.”
Asked as to what his message had been this week, Jones added: “You don’t want to be too profound with things like that. We are very aware it’s not just about the guys in the national squad, it’s the guys in the regions as well and their staff.
“There are no words I can say about anything that’s happened this week, but I think you said the word galvanise, and for us, that’s what it has felt like this week, which has been good.”
Wales are seeking their 13th successive victory against all opponents, and a 12th from the last 13 meetings against Scotland. An away triumph would see Jones clock up a new record for most Wales wins – 62 – by one player in an international career.
Ireland are looming in Cardiff on Saturday week, but Wales are aware they came badly unstuck on their last Murrayfield trip two years ago, losing 13-29 after leading at half time. “Scotland are probably one of the most innovative teams in world rugby at the moment,” Jones said. “[Flyhalf] Finn Russell is at the forefront of that.
“He has got a bag of tricks and he can turn a game on a sixpence, but they are an imaginative team and it’s not just down to one individual. We are aware of that. We have got to play the situation and the environment we are in, which we probably didn’t do when we played France [last month].”
History, though, is on Wales’ side. Not only is their Six Nations record against Scotland an outstanding one, but they have never blown a Grand Slam opportunity in the tournament after winning the first three games.