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'I have no doubt there is going to be some altercations'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Wales assistant Neik Jenkins has bitten back following England accusations that veteran skipper Alun Wyn Jones has in the past targeted their players and would need to be dealt with when the teams meet on Saturday in the third round of the Guinness Six Nations.


Jones is set to play against England for the 23rd occasion in his long career and he has been singled out by Eddie Jones as someone whose wind-up tactics must be curtailed at the Principality Stadium.   

He has at times targeted various players in our team,” claimed England boss Jones. “We have spoken about him, we understand what he will be trying to do and it’s just making sure we maintain our composure and our control.”

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Wales have now exercised their right of reply, assistant coach Jenkins answering back at the criticism of his team’s captain. “Look, the game is the game and things are going to happen, people will get on edge,” he said. 

“There is going to be confrontations, there is going to be a little bit off the ball stuff. That is the reality but you can’t do anything nowadays, there are so many cameras and you have got so many people looking at you, you have just got to be as disciplined as you can possibly be. 

“You don’t want to give teams easy ins and certainly we don’t want to give England easy ins. They have got big ball carriers, people who can make dents in your defensive line and we want to minimise that as best as we can. But as for the edge and as for the occasion, you have to play it by ear and see how it goes. I have no doubt there is going to be some altercations but let’s hope it’s disciplined ones.”


There is an appetite among rugby fans for a rousingly entertaining spectacle to unfold in Cardiff as Wales seek to take the third step towards a possible Grand Slam and England look to rectify the damage to the title retention bid caused by their defeat to Scotland. 

However, Jenkins is predicting a low frills, kick dominated affair along the lines of what unfolded when England last visited Wales in November for a 24-13 Autumn Nations Cup win at Llanelli. “I don’t see it being too dissimilar if I’m brutally honest,” he said. “There is not an awful lot of space out there.

“England will graft at the scrum and lineout as they normally do, it will be very tough and heavily contested but there is not an awful lot of space and you have got to earn that and try and earn that right to play by using the kicking game. England do it very effectively. They kick an awful lot of ball in your half… kicking is going to be a big facet in the game. 

“You have got be disciplined, you have got to be smart, you have got to be willing to get in the arm wrestle, you have got to be willing to play in the right areas. All this stuff comes to the fore. You can’t afford to be making silly decisions and they get an easy in.


“It’s quite tough to stop a team like England when they get close to your try line. They have big ball carriers and they will come pretty direct and it’s not easy to do, so minimising their chances in our half is what we are going to do and they are probably going to try and do the same to us.”


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