Wales boss Gatland: I had no choice but to axe Adam Jones
Updated 4:17pm Thursday 19th June 2014 in Sport
WALES coach Warren Gatland admitted he had little choice but to drop prop Adam Jones for the second Test against South Africa.
The 33-year-old tighthead suffered the ignominy of being hauled off just 33 minutes into his 100th Test as Wales were beaten 38-16 by the Springboks last weekend.
It echoed his experiences at the start of his international career under current All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who regularly took Jones off half-an-hour into games due to concerns over his fitness.
Gatland felt the veteran forward's difficulty in coping with the pace of the first Test in Durban, plus the testing weather conditions expected in Nelspruit, left him with no option but to leave him out of his 23-man squad.
"He hasn't had a lot of rugby recently," said Gatland. "The way the game was and potentially the way the weather conditions are going to be for this week, we just felt at this stage we wanted to have a look at someone else and to make a change.
"Adam was disappointed with us taking him off and the way he played. We appreciate that as well because of what he's achieved as a player, but it doesn't matter who you are, the expectations are you've got to go out there and perform.
"We are all under pressure to perform."
Jones' starting role is taken by Samson Lee of the Scarlets, while Aaron Jarvis comes on to the bench.
There is also a change at openside flanker, where Josh Turnbull takes over from his Scarlets colleague Aaron Shingler, while Ospreys number eight Dan Baker is among the replacements.
Jake Ball is preferred to Ian Evans as second-row cover on the bench.
Scrum-half Mike Phillips has retained his spot, despite coming under pressure from Gareth Davies.
And Gatland explained the Welsh coaching staff had been pleased by the performance of Phillips when they went back through footage of the first Test.
The New Zealander said: "When we went back and looked at the tape, apart from one loose pass and us looking for him to be a bit more of a running threat, it was one of the most accurate games Mike has had for a long time.
"There were not errors around his game. We just think he needs to be a bit more of a running threat. He worked hard, he chased back and saved us a try on one occasion.
"Overall it was a pretty reasonably good performance from him. But we are pleased with Gareth too and we want him to come on and make an impact."
Wales: L Williams, A Cuthbert, J Davies, J Roberts, G North, D Biggar, M Phillips, G Jenkins, K Owens, S Lee, L Charteris, A Wyn Jones, D Lydiate, J Turnbull, T Faletau.
Replacements: M Rees, P James, A Jarvis, J Ball, D Baker, G Davies, J Hook, M Morgan.
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