Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Jones targets an end product

Adam Jones believes heroic failures are no longer acceptable for Wales when they tackle giants of the game like world champions South Africa.

Wales go into Sunday's World Cup showdown with the Springboks after suffering three successive narrow defeats against them at the Millennium Stadium. Although South Africa won the lot, their total aggregate victory margin was just 12 points, and Wales were left rueing the fact they squandered big leads in two of those Tests.

"When I first started playing, if we got within four or five points of South Africa, the champagne would be going in the changing room and we would be chuffed to bits." recalled Jones. "Not so much any more, we are disappointed. 'Gats' (Wales coach Warren Gatland) has installed a mentality that we can beat them. And when we do, I think we will push on a bit."

He added: "It is something he has pushed into us, things like 'is anyone working as hard as us on the training field and in the gym?' We worked particularly hard during our summer training camps in Poland."

It does not look as though Jones will be renewing any rivalry with Springboks lock Bakkies Botha on Sunday, though.

Botha was cited and received a two-week ban for a dangerous charge on Jones during the titanic second Test between South Africa and the British and Irish Lions in Pretoria two years ago.

It left Jones with a dislocated shoulder, although the Welshman subsequently said he did not feel Botha, one of the world game's renowned hard men, should have been suspended.

Botha is now injured, fighting what appears to be a losing battle to shake off an Achilles problem in time for the Wales encounter. And it has also emerged that Botha's second-row partner Victor Matfield - they boast 181 caps between them - has not taken a full part in training due to a hamstring niggle.

"We are still rehabilitating it," said Matfield. "We will have a look on Friday, but we believe I will be ready to play.

"I don't know if he (Botha) will be ready. But hopefully, he will be ready for next week. He's training hard in the gym, so I think they are making a call on him on Friday as well."


From Belfast Telegraph