Six Nations: Jones wants to ride high on Welsh emotional rollercoaster
Ryan Jones readily admits Wales have been on an emotional rollercoaster during this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship.
The 2010 tournament might only be two rounds old, but it has been eventful for Wales, on and off the pitch.
It started with the Ospreys' 16th player saga that saw Wales full-back Lee Byrne banned and then cleared, just days before a Twickenham opener against England.
Alun-Wyn Jones' damaging sin-binning at Twickenham quickly followed — Wales conceded 17 points in his absence — prior to a stunning injury-time victory over Scotland, before Andy Powell's so-called 'Buggygate' misdemeanour hogged the headlines.
The squad has also been offering collective support this week to lock Bradley Davies following the death of his mother Cheryl.
The team, which includes Davies for his first Six Nations start, will wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence in her memory before facing title favourites France at the Millennium Stadium tonight.
Powell was dropped by Wales boss Warren Gatland after being charged with drink-driving, while injuries also struck key players, including Lions trio of Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees.
“We've had a rollercoaster of emotions individually and collectively as a squad,” said Wales captain Jones (pictured).
“International rugby is quite stressful and uncompromising, but everyone knows what is expected of them in this environment. If you let yourself down, you pay the price.
“It seems to be the in-thing with footballers at the moment with everything that is going on. There is a media hunger for those indiscretions away from the field.
“You just have to behave. Unfortunately, Andy Powell didn't and he paid the price. We've also seen quite a big turnover of players as well, which is unusual, but it is something you have to deal with and move on.”
Wales' latest appointment with Les Bleus — they have lost four from five at home in the Six Nations against them — marks a watershed moment of their campaign.
Both France and Wales will head to Ireland in a fortnight's time with Six Nations silverware still an attainable target. Lose though and it is potentially mid-table mediocrity at best.
“It's a huge game for us,” said Jones, who skippers a side showing five changes, including lock Jonathan Thomas' switch to blindside flanker instead of Powell.
“France have been nothing short of superb the last two games, so to a man we have got to be on top of our game.”