Coombs ready for battle with class act
8:30am Tuesday 19th February 2013 in Sport
ANDREW Coombs has hailed Alun Wyn Jones as a “class act” but intends to make the returning lock get used to life on the bench.
Ospreys ace Jones is back in the Six Nations squad following shoulder surgery that had sidelined him since November.
The 27-year-old double Grand Slam winner is expected to make his international return off the bench against Italy in Rome.
But there was no chance of Jones being parachuted straight back into the side because of the form of Coombs and Ian Evans, who made themselves undroppable with fine displays against Ireland and France.
But the Newport Gwent Dragons lock knows that he needs to maintain those high standards to keep the returning talisman out of the side.
“Alun Wyn is a fantastic player and I have always enjoyed watching him,” said Coombs. “His work rate is phenomenal.
“He is a class act, has won 67 caps, been a British Lion and has been there and done it.
“The coaches will probably want to get him back on the field to see what sort of form he is in.
“But I just want to keep my game going, play as I have in the first two games and retain my jersey.
“My form is good at the moment and if I can keep the jersey for this campaign then there is a tour of Japan in the summer.
“I am just looking to win as many caps as I can."
Injuries gave Coombs his chance to become a Wales international and it has been a life-changing few weeks.
His performances have led to him going from regional workhorse to a Test star that gets noticed in Asda.
And his third cap is one that will fill Coombs with pride given the other options that were available to head coach Rob Howley before he named an unchanged side last week.
He said: “I thought that they might look at putting Ryan Jones in the second row and Sam Warburton at six while Alun Wyn coming back in could’ve got a shout.
“There were a lot of options so this week more than any other I’m really chuffed.
“There’s a lot of pressure on me this week and thankfully they have put the trust in me to go back out there and hopefully put another performance in.”
The key to do that? Just keep on grafting.
“I’ve just got to go there and work hard, if I do that then hopefully things will happen for me,” said Coombs.
“I always base my game on work rate, I’m not the sort of player that is going to set the world on fire or make 60-yard breaks.
“I’m there to work hard, hit rucks, carry ball and tackle. That’s what I am trying to do.”