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Wales will step up a level for Scotland clash, says skipper Alun Wyn Jones

Alun Wyn Jones has set his sights on Wales regrouping and improving as they build towards a resumption of Six Nations business in two weeks' time.

Scotland at Murrayfield - a fixture Wales have lost once since 2003 - offers Jones and company the chance to respond following a deflating late defeat against England in Cardiff.

The 21-16 loss put Wales on the back foot in terms of Six Nations title hopes after England wing Elliot Daly stung them with a winning try five minutes from time.

But Wales' performance level returned to somewhere near the outstanding rugby they produced in the first and second Tests against world champions New Zealand last summer.

England's greater composure and accuracy during a frantic final 10 minutes swayed a memorable contest their way, yet Wales know they also stepped up a level on recent displays..

"I think the competitor in all of us would rather play again tomorrow," skipper Jones said, as he began reflecting on Wales' first loss in five games.

"We've got two weeks to regroup. We feel we improved on the first weekend (against Italy), and we can only improve again.

"We've five minutes to work on, probably. I sound like a broken record. If you go back a few years, we were probably saying the same thing, but the vast majority of the performance was a vast improvement.

"Improvement for everyone is pretty limitless. We improved from the Italy game, and we will continue to work to do that again.

"I make no bones in saying it, we win as a team and we lose as a team, and we will improve as a team as well."

Wales led at half-time and during the closing stages following a Liam Williams try and 11 points from full-back Leigh Halfpenny, but Daly delivered the goods to give England a 16th successive win.

"There was a lot of emotion in the game, but I don't think it was solely played on that," Jones added.

"We were a bit more clinical, or tried to be, at times, we tried to be smarter and use the ball more. But ultimately, it was a performance that fell five minutes short.

"It was a vast improvement on the 35 minutes that have probably been missing in the past, but we fell short. Simple as.

"We don't try to be the great entertainers. In times gone by we have been with the way we have come back into games, but this one was going to be a tight affair throughout, whether we were going to be trading in threes (penalties) or tries.

"I said in the week about physicality, momentum and being able to be clinical. We matched them with physicality, but ultimately we feel that we hurt ourselves in those last few minutes.

"They (England) were as good as we said they were before the start of the game.

"We matched them with the physicality and were able to stop the momentum they had coming into the game - and in the game - for the majority, but winning is a habit and they are on a roll now. Unfortunately, we fell short."


From Belfast Telegraph