x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Two losses are too many for Wales at Six Nations Rugby

Wales are 'very disappointed' about Sunday's defeat to England, which ended hopes of third straight title, as players buck up for Scotland this weekend.

A dejected Wales wing George North looks on during Sunday’s 29-18 loss to England in a Six Nations match at Twickenham. Stu Forster / Getty Images
A dejected Wales wing George North looks on during Sunday’s 29-18 loss to England in a Six Nations match at Twickenham. Stu Forster / Getty Images

Alun-Wyn Jones says the British & Irish Lions stars on the Wales team cannot use fatigue as an excuse for their below-par Six Nations campaign.

Warren Gatland’s side slipped to a 29-18 defeat to England at Twickenham on Sunday, surrendering any lingering hopes of claiming a third straight Six Nations title.

Wales’s second loss of the tournament, after being humbled 26-3 in Ireland last month, left Jones frustrated with their performance. Jones, along with many Welsh compatriots, played all three Tests in the 2-1 Lions success down under last year, but refused to allow it to explain his side’s Six Nations losses to England and Ireland.

“I am not sure that had anything to do with the defeat,” the 28-year-old forward said.

“When you do not have the ball, it makes it much harder and we had to defend a lot.

“I do not know if fatigue is an issue after a long year. Many of us were on the Lions tour, but each individual is different and you would have to ask the opinion of every player.

“It could be an excuse.

“Although it is a relevant question, I do not think I can answer it.

“It was always going to be a big load this season, but there are potentially bigger things to worry about.

“You cannot expect teams to be up for a final every Saturday, but you have to in the Six Nations and that is the difficulty we have.”

Wales host fifth-placed Scotland on Saturday, intent on restoring some pride after the Twickenham defeat, with Jones expecting a stubborn challenge from lock duo Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton in the Scottish line-up.

“We are all very disappointed about Sunday,” he said.

“We were in the game more than we were in Ireland and certain aspects were better, but there were areas we were not happy with.

“Two losses at this stage is not what we were looking for. We are lucky we have another game coming up quickly.

“You can take nothing away from England and credit to them: they starved us of ball but when we did have it 50 per cent of our turnovers were unforced errors and we put pressure on ourselves.

“England have bounced back from the defeat in Cardiff last year and we have to do the same.

“Scotland took a lot of stick in the first two rounds, but they are gaining in confidence and it will be a tough ask.

“Richie Gray’s omission earlier raised a few eyebrows, but he was outstanding against France” in a 19-17 Scotland defeat.

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