Belfast Telegraph

Munster's Felix Jones is put in frame by critical eye of Joe Schmidt

By John Fallon

To those of us watching on, this feels like something of a belated breakout season for Felix Jones. He disagrees.

The difference, according to the Munster full-back, is that those watching on are doing so with a more critical eye. He doesn't mention him by name, but the Dubliner is talking about the Joe Schmidt effect.

Jones has had his moments in the past, most notably in the build-up to the 2011 World Cup when he appeared to have convinced Declan Kidney to make the squad, but then suffered a foot injury in the warm-up game against France and couldn't go.

Between 2011 and 2014 he won just two more caps, but between the summer tour to Argentina and the November internationals he has found favour with Schmidt and came off the bench in the big wins over South Africa and Australia, while bagging a brace of tries against Georgia.

While Munster boss Anthony Foley has named him captain on a number of occasions, the Dubliner has earned the trust of the national management team on the back of his consistently strong displays for Munster and his defensive nous as the last line.

"I don't know if it's the way we're playing the game, is that allowing me to get on the ball, or the positions that I'm finding myself in defensively, if that's easier," he said. "But no, I don't think so. I don't feel I'm doing a huge amount different. I think (recognition) probably comes with success as well, in that up to November we'd been very successful in both competitions."

This week, Ireland is at the back of Munster minds as the task at hand looms large. Today, Foley names his team to face Saracens for Munster's latest episode in the do-or-die chronicles. Jones says their previous exploits will hold little water in London tomorrow.

"It's in the record books and it's unbelievable for the clubs to have it," he said. "It's a source of pride for the club but in terms of the players we're full aware that it counts for nothing for us.

"We have to do it. We've come through some tight spots in recent seasons where it looked like we were down and out and we managed to pull through but it counts for nothing. This is 80 minutes and it's just all or nothing."

Belfast Telegraph

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