Alun Wyn Jones believes that Wales flanker James Davies – the Olympic Sevens silver medal winner from 2016 with Britain – has an opportunity to continue his “stellar form” when he faces England on Saturday in Cardiff.
Davies starts in the same team as his brother Jonathan, joining fly-half Dan Biggar and lock Jake Ball as changes following events in south-west London last Sunday, the World Cup warm-up opener that saw the Welsh defeated.
The Davies are the first brothers to start together for Wales since Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006. It will be the younger Davies’ fourth cap, but his first since last year’s summer tour of Argentina.
“I thought he sent a flare up in Argentina to say he’d arrived,” said Jones. “He’s had injury struggles since, but he’s got an opportunity at the weekend to continue the stellar form he has shown for long periods in the Scarlets jersey.
“Obviously, there is a bit of pedigree there with his brother in the centre. James has been a stand-out in what has been a hotly-contested position in Wales for a long time. He’s been very close and has got the nod after banging on the door.”
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— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) August 16, 2019
Jones wants the Welsh to continue their Cardiff feel-good factor in Saturday’s clash. Wales will make a first Principality Stadium appearance since March when a 25-7 victory over Ireland secured the Six Nations title and Grand Slam glory.
A win at England’s expense this weekend would make it 11 in a row against all opponents and also see Wales replace New Zealand as World Rugby’s No1-ranked nation.
Wales have never previously reached the rankings summit so it would represent an impressive feat, especially just a month before the World Cup starts. “It’s nice to be home,” said Jones.
“The occasion when we were here last time was obviously special and we are not going to lie, we want to carry that on. There is a big responsibility when we pull the jersey on. I say it a lot, and pardon the cliche, but it means a lot to be here and playing at home.”
Wales, though, will need to show an improvement from last Sunday’s 33-19 loss at Twickenham. ”Results are important off the back of a performance – your performance tells you a lot about your result as well,” Jones added.
“You play games sometimes where you might not play great, but you still win. That wasn’t the fact on the weekend. We were slow out of the blocks, and we have got another opportunity to put that right. It is an opportunity for us to redeem ourselves after the first game.
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“It would be very easy for us to say we were rusty (last week) because it was our first warm-up. We can’t drop our standards or allow our perception to change because of that. We pull on a Test jersey for a Test match.
“We realise where we have got to pick up, and there is an opportunity for people that played and a few guys coming in.”
– Press Association
WATCH: Warren Gatland meets the press ahead of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match
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