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Rugby union mustn't lose its physical edge, says Alun-Wyn Jones

Wales warrior Alun-Wyn Jones has warned against the danger of any attempt to blunt Test rugby's fierce physical edge.

Jones and company can expect a no-holds-barred RBS 6 Nations encounter against fellow unbeaten title challengers France on Friday.

Les Bleus arrive in Cardiff on the back of a particularly punishing victory over Ireland 12 days ago.

The game featured a couple of incidents involving French players that could conceivably have seen disciplinary action being taken against them.

Asked specifically about that match in Paris and the borderline legality of some French challenges, 96 times-capped lock Jones said: "Obviously, there was a bit of, I don't know, afters - whatever you want to call it - but I think we have got to be very careful we don't sanitise it too much because then the game might turn to touch.

"I am sure the officials will keep an eye on it - that's their job. We just have to play the game.

"There are always things which are in vogue - it is no arms in the tackle, no hands on the floor at the minute. There are always things that dip in and out of the game.

"You have got to be able to hit a ruck to be able to get quick ball.

"Obviously, there are ways and means to do it - you have to do it within the parameters of the law - but, taking into consideration a duty of care to each other as players, I think we have just got to be careful we don't hold the game back by going too far one way."

Jones will once again be at the forward coal-face for Wales as they target a fifth successive Six Nations win against France, having not lost to them since suffering a painful 2011 World Cup semi-final defeat in Auckland when skipper Sam Warburton was sent off.

"They (France) will ask the questions up front that they always pose," Jones added.

"The rest of the game stems from there, and we have been able to answer them in the games we have played against them recently, which has put us in good stead for the other areas of the game.

"When you look at them (French players) domestically, when you play the top six of that league - arguably more - they are going to roll international quality players, with real size and ability, off the bench.

"And it gets more concentrated as you come into international level, so it becomes increasingly difficult."

Jones will have a different second-row partner for the France clash, with an in-form Luke Charteris being ruled out by knee trouble, but seasoned campaigner Bradley Davies steps in, suggesting minimal disruption.

"Our policies stay the same in defence and attack," Jones added.

"Obviously (Davies' qualities), are the physicality side of things, both in attack and defence.

"He's very astute in defence, and I think Gats (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) may have mentioned that there are a lot of guys - Jake (Ball), Dom (Day) Brad himself - who have been doing a lot of work there.

"We try to share the load. Sometimes, too many cooks can spoil the broth, but we've got a good balance where everyone has their input. Those guys put in the work so we can try to be one step ahead the next week.

"We've had a (few) decent (lineout) steals, although we probably feel we could have got a few more, and probably there is a perception now that we will compete (on opposition ball) so teams have to make sure they secure the ball before they can drive, so it's good to put that pressure on."


From Belfast Telegraph