Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Players want to bounce back - Jones

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones

Wales will head into Saturday's Millennium Stadium clash against New Zealand after what fly-half Stephen Jones described as an "open and honest" players' meeting.

Jones and company were left reeling by a shambolic 16-16 draw against Fiji five days ago. It was Wales' sixth successive Test match without a win, and left them with just two victories from their last 12 starts since beating Argentina a year ago.

"Fiji was hugely disappointing, and we know we can play better," said Stephen Jones. "We have been open and honest, and we know that we didn't perform to the standard we would have liked. We have tried to wrestle with issues this week and have to make sure we put things right on Saturday."

Given that Wales have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953, losing 23 successive games and conceding something approaching 800 points, 2010 looks destined to end on a losing note.

Hooker Matthew Rees, rested against Fiji but now back as captain instead of Ryan Jones, oversaw a meeting in the wake of last Friday's abject display.

"We have belief in our ability," he added. "But when you do not perform as a team there will be criticism.

"Every time you put the Wales jersey on there is a massive responsibility. People are entitled to criticise us.

"The players' meeting was open and honest and about how we can move forward and prepare best. It was good.

"We are in a competitive environment and we want to get the best out of each other. Players often meet to discuss the way forward, especially ahead of such a big game."

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