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Alun Wyn Jones: 'I think almost daily about possible World Cup glory'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones admits it would be “not far off” to say he thinks daily about possible World Cup glory.

Jones leads Wales’ World Cup squad to Japan on Wednesday, where they are widely expected to be a main mover and shaker.

He is also set to become his country’s most capped player during the competition, currently standing just one appearance behind Gethin Jenkins’ Wales record of 129 Tests.

When Jones’ nine British and Irish Lions Tests are added to the mix – and the fourth World Cup that awaits him – his place among Welsh rugby’s all-time greats has long been confirmed.

But the aim of challenging for World Cup honours is a driving force for a player revered by team-mates and opponents alike.

“I dreamt to play for Wales, and if you do that, you want to win a Grand Slam,” Jones said.

“You win a Grand Slam, what’s the next best thing? I have not won a (European) Champions Cup, I have not won a World Cup.

“Do I think about these things daily? Not far off. I am on the cusp of potentially my last chance of it, so here we go.

“In 2011 we got to a semi-final, and on another night we get to the final and what happened will go down in the annals.

“In 2015 everybody talks about us beating England, but we go on to facing Australia and them being down to 13 men and we don’t capitalise.

“You remember all those things and moments, and I have had a bit of everything with my experiences.”

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The Ospreys lock was central to Wales’ record 14-game unbeaten run set between March last year and this summer that included a Six Nations Grand Slam and Jones being named player of the tournament.

He is relishing what lies ahead in Japan, and he also hopes that Asia’s first World Cup will be remembered for the rugby it produces.

“If you are getting into rugby, or a neutral, it is mouthwatering,” he added.

“To have such a potentially open World Cup in such an exciting country – which is going to put on a hell of show by all accounts – is going to be great for the game.

“I just fear that potentially this summer the way decisions have gone on the field with certain things, it is becoming increasingly difficult for referees.

“I hope that does not overshadow the rugby and that sort of stuff. They seem to have got their act in order, which seems to bode well for the competition.”

Asked if the Wales squad had talked about issues such as red cards, Jones said: “No we haven’t, but I feel it is worth mentioning because it is potentially going to be such an open tournament and you would not want that to be a talking point.

“You want rugby, the competition and Japan to be the talking points and nothing else.

“I am not trying to set the cat among the pigeons in that regard, but I think that should be the focus and not should have, would have, could have with some decisions that can influence games.”

Many pundits feel that Wales’ current group for head coach Warren Gatland’s final tournament in charge is their best-assembled World Cup squad.

“Whether it is the best, I don’t know, and the jury will be out until we see the results,” Jones said.

“But from a balance point of view and age profiles, along with performances, it is an exciting squad with a lot of potential.

“We are going to be judged this year on what we do in this competition. The last three months has laid the foundation for what lies ahead.”

– Press Association

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Alun Wyn Jones: 'I think almost daily about possible World Cup glory'