Alun Wyn Jones relishing chance to put the heat on top locks

First published in Wales rugby Campaign Series: Photograph of the Author by

ALUN Wyn Jones realises he’s in a battle to wrest back his starting place in the Wales XV after making his first Test appearance since the Argentina defeat in the autumn.

The two-times Grand Slam winner only returned to action for the Ospreys this month after a shoulder injury suffered in November.

Jones, 27, came on as a replacement for Newport Gwent Dragons lock Andrew Coombs for the last half an hour of Wales’ 26-9 win over Italy last Saturday.

Coombs’ meteoric rise during the Six Nations has been remarkable story, making an impressive debut in the defeat to Ireland at the start of February then performing superbly in the win in Paris.

And Jones, who won his 68th cap on the weekend, knows he has a fight on his hands to regain his place and praised Coombs and his partner Ian Evans for their excellent performances so far in the tournament.

“Their performances speak for themselves,” he said. “It’s funny when you play international rugby you never really own the jersey, you are just in possession of it at one point.

“I have been in and out of it and been injured and come back into it and it is part of the game.”

On being asked about the challenge of Scotland in Murrayfield on March 9, he said: “Obviously I can’t look too far forward, I had only 30 minutes against Italy and the Ospreys have a game against Munster at the weekend.

“It is likely I will be released back to them to get a bit more game time, so it is an opportunity for me and I can’t look any further ahead than that.”

On winning during a deluge at the Stadio Olimpico, which is a only a few miles from the city’s imposing Colosseum, Wyn Jones said: “It was always going to be gladiatorial, if you will excuse the pun, being in Rome and all that.

“But we knew it was going to be like that, especially with the conditions and not a lot of rugby was going to be played.

“And we knew it was going to take 50 to 60 minutes for anything to come to fruition, and Jonathan Davies got a good try and Alex Cuthbert capitalised on some good go forward from a line out, so it sort of went to plan.

“Maybe at the end of the first half we were trying to play a bit too much rugby from inside our own 22, but other than that it was as expected I suppose.”

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