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Jones on making history, JJ Williams, and facing Scotland

Alun Wyn Jones warms up for facing Scotland

Jones on making history, JJ Williams, and facing Scotland

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Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will become world rugby’s most capped player when he leads Wayne Pivac’s side against Scotland in the Guinness Six Nations.

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Jones will win his 149th cap at Parc y Scarlets and will overtake the previous record of 148 held by former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw.

Ahead of the game, Jones reflects on his career, making history, and passing his condolences to the family of the great JJ Williams…

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Question: What improvements need to be made from the France game?

Alun Wyn Jones: “I was asked last week before the France game about us being undercooked and now I think potentially we were compared to the amount of rugby the French had played.

“In terms of physicality and fitness we were there, but we weren’t game ready and credit to France – they utilised the opportunities. It was clear what we needed to improve on.

“Stephen Jones has mentioned the physicality and collision area of the game needs to increase.”

Q: How different will it be playing at Parc y Scarlets as your home test ground? 

AWJ: “Being an Osprey I would rather it was at the Liberty Stadium! We are at home anyway, but there have been some logistical changes we need to deal with. It is the sign of the times and we are lucky to be taking the field.

“We will treat it like it was at Principality Stadium.”

Alun Wyn Jones shows the way during training with Wales

Q: Shane Lewis-Hughes will get his first cap against Scotland. What’s he like as a player?

AWJ: “He impressed me before he even came into the camp. We played against Cardiff Blues earlier on in the season and he has been one of the outstanding performers for them.

“Wayne Pivac said people were going to get the opportunity in this autumn campaign. Shane has caught his attention and got the opportunity. He is another to get the honour of getting his cap number.”

Q: You’ll become rugby’s most capped player when you gain your 149th cap against Scotland. How do you feel about it?

AWJ: “I have been fortunate to have the opportunity. I ultimately don’t feel worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence of some of the greats. I am just conscious who I do it for, what I do it for, and where I am from.

“I will treat Saturday in the same vein.”

 Q: Will you celebrate your record caps after the game? 

AWJ: “Very much so. We have an earlier kick-off but I have a job to do and we need a performance first. If we get the performance, then yes.”

Q: How important is it to win against Scotland?

AWJ: “Very. Ultimately, elite sport and international rugby is about winning and that starts with performance. If we get that right, we’ll be happy with the end result.”

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones

Q: What do you make of the Scotland team?

AWJ: “They’ve arguably got one of the best brands of rugby out there. They’ve added guys to the squad who’ve done well and been very successful lately, playing play-offs and finals rugby.

“They’ve got that game readiness and wealth of experience coming back to the squad and they’ll be buoyed by the performance they had against Georgia. They’re definitely a team with a point to continue to prove.”

Q: How do you feel about the passing of Welsh rugby great JJ Williams?

AWJ: “The thoughts of the squad are with JJ’s family. We are very aware of the situation and what it means to people and ultimately that’s what you try to encapsulate in a performance, even at this elite level.”

Q: Who were the people you looked up to as a young player?

AWJ: “It’s so long ago now I can’t really remember!

“My minis rugby was played at Mumbles before we folded and then Bonymaen accepted me up there for the large part of my younger career.

“I can remember looking up to Martin Johnson and John Eales. People who are in a similar position and achieved all there is.

“It would have to be those two. Their CVs are a bit heavier than mine.”

Q: How important have your family been in your career?

AWJ: “That’s the funny thing, when you move up the ladder of elite sport the support you have is second to none – particularly with what we have at the WRU.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have my mum, my sister and my dad – when he was around – and then my wife and the girls. They have definitely kept me grounded these last few years as they are maturing faster than ever!

“I can’t say enough about my family as when I do finish they will still be there and the game will move on. I’m all too aware of that.”

Alun Wyn Jones

Q: How uncomfortable are you with the added attention?

AWJ: “Slightly uncomfortable. There are a few guys who have known me for a while and know I don’t particularly like it. It does feel like a sideshow to be honest.

“I want to get out and play and get the performance we need. I am hugely flattered, but ultimately it is words and the game will move on next week and that’ll be that focus. We have Saturday to deal with first, but we will see where the emotions are after it.”

Q: Is Wales playing at home a relief from the Covid-19 pandemic?

AWJ: “Exactly. It is a difficult one. Obviously we are in a lockdown and can’t get people there in the stands.

“So for us to carry the torch in these times when people can’t do it is a privilege, more so than in usual times because we are the only people doing it at the minute. Like I say, we need to get a performance through to the final whistle.”

The Six Nations story so far!

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