Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Jones offers support to England props

Adam Jones, pictured, and Gethin Jenkins helped Wales dominate up front as they defeated England to win the Six Nations
Adam Jones, pictured, and Gethin Jenkins helped Wales dominate up front as they defeated England to win the Six Nations

Adam Jones has backed England's props to bounce back from their chastening Millennium Stadium experience and prove themselves a major force at the next World Cup.

Joe Marler and Dan Cole conceded a number of penalties at scrum time as the experience of Jones and captain Gethin Jenkins helped Wales dominate up front, paving the way for them to retain their RBS 6 Nations title with a record 30-3 victory in Cardiff.

But Jones said: "They are only going to get better, and I'm pretty sure that come the World Cup England are going to be formidable opposition, but we're pleased with the way Saturday went."

Harlequins loosehead Marler found it particularly difficult against the power of Jones, whose outstanding form during the latter part of the Six Nations has made him the favourite to wear the number three shirt when the Lions face Australia this summer.

Marler's difficulties with Jones and the interpretation of referee Steve Walsh were such he was hauled off after just 44 minutes, although his replacement Mako Vunipola scarcely fared any better at the scrum.

The result also has ominous overtones for England as they will face Wales during the pool stages of the 2015 World Cup, which they will host, but Ospreys stalwart Jones, 32, has praised the abilities of Marler and Cole.

He said: "It was a strange game, with a lot of scrum penalties. People have come out and said that Marler was shocking, but he's good.

"I'd never played against him before and he's a better prop than I thought he was. He's only 22 and he's excellent - both loose-heads were, and Dan Cole is only 25."

Jones is one of four Wales players to be shortlisted for the RBS Player of the Championship award. Mike Phillips, Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny are the remaining trio of Welshmen, but Jones believes it is full-back Halfpenny - rock solid throughout the tournament - who deserves to come out on top in the public vote.

He said: "Leigh has been brilliant. He's quite quiet, someone who doesn't say a lot, but he's very assured, a fantastic player, and his goal-kicking is out of this world. He's excellent and he is a shoo-in for the Lions."

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