x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Jones wants his boys to be men

The Wales captain believes his side need to come away with victory against Australia to prove they are a force to be reckoned with.

The Wales captain Ryan Jones is looking for no excuses when they play against Australia.
The Wales captain Ryan Jones is looking for no excuses when they play against Australia.

The Wales captain Ryan Jones believes his side need to come away with victory against Australia to prove they are a force to be reckoned with ahead of their Six Nations defence. The Welsh ran New Zealand close early on last weekend at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, leading the match 9-6 at half-time before conceding 23 unanswered points in the second-half.

And the flanker Jones said that, in the wake of that result and the previous weekend's loss to South Africa, his players had to go for broke against the Wallabies tomorrow. "We had our moments against the Springboks and the All Blacks," he said, "but in the end we were outplayed. And we desperately need the win over Australia to show we're a serious rugby force. "I'd be disappointed if the only result we came away with from these November Tests was a win over Canada. It'll hardly a marker for the defence of our Six Nations title next year. So we need to throw absolutely everything at the Wallabies."

The Wales coach Warren Gatland has made just two changes to the side who lost to New Zealand, replacing teenager win Leigh Halfpenny with Mark Jones and bringing in Ian Gough for the injured Ian Evans, while Australia have made five changes. Phil Waugh, Hugh McMenimen, Mark Chisholm and Richard Brown are all brought into the pack, while Ryan Cross is the sole change in the backs, replacing Adam Ashley-Cooper after recovering from a stomach bug.

Gatland warned that the Australia fly-half Matt Giteau, 26, held the key to tomorrow's match, hailing the him "as about as big a threat as you can get on a field". "New Zealand's Dan Carter gets a lot of attention as the world's best fly-half," Gatland said, "but Matt is just as good at dominating a game. His kicking game is superb and the attacking option he gives Australia is fantastic. If we shut him down - and I make no secret that that's the target - then that's half the job done."

mmajendie@thenational.ae