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Howley praises Jones' leadership

Assistant coach Rob Howley has praised the leadership of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones after the second row delivered a rousing speech to his squad ahead of the second Test against South Africa.

Wales were hammered 38-16 in last weekend's first Test in Durban, and few are giving the tourists any chance of turning matters around at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday.

But Ospreys lock Jones, leading the side in the absence of injured flanker Sam Warburton, has left his team-mates in no doubt of what will be required to ensure there is no repeat of last weekend's hiding.

Howley said: "We have to make sure our attitude is spot on this week and Alun Wyn Jones spoke superbly in the team room this morning.

"He has been excellent taking over from Sam Warburton over the last three weeks.

"He has led maturely and says things at the right time, and we do not want to leave South Africa without showing them the best of Wales, and that was not the best of us last week.

"He is very selfless and knows the game, the way he spoke passionately about playing for Wales and what it means to him summed things up quite poignantly."

Despite the heavy reverse at Kings Park, head coach Warren Gatland and his management set-up have elected to make just two changes for this weekend's encounter with the 'Boks, for whome Victor Matfield earns a record 112th cap.

Samson Lee has replaced Adam Jones at tighthead while Josh Turnbull is preferred to Aaron Shingler on the openside flank, where Wales have struggled without Warburton and fellow injury victim Justin Tipuric.

It leaves nine British & Irish Lions in the Welsh side, for many of whom it has been a very long season since tasting Test series glory in Australia last summer.

But Howley is confident there is enough left in the tank.

He said: "This is the last game, you have your summer holidays and then it is still nearly five months until we are back together for the autumn.

"It is a long time, and you do not want to be thinking 'what if we had prepared or done something different?'

"But this is the challenge for us. We need to show we are a better team than we showed last week.

"We need to be more competitive in all areas because they were vastly superior in the majority of areas.

"We have to be more clinical at key moments and look to put them under pressure in a way we were not able to last week."


From Belfast Telegraph