Six Nations

Wales' Alun Wyn Jones 'fortunate' ahead of 148th Test appearance feat

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 Alun Wyn Jones (Getty)
Alun Wyn Jones (Getty)

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says he realises how lucky he will be to equal Richie McCaw's Test cap record in Saturday's Six Nations warm-up against France in Paris.

Jones, 35, who will make his 148th Test appearance after also representing the British and Irish Lions, remained modest about the feat.

"I'm very fortunate again to pull on the red of Wales. I'm probably past the days of looking back," second row Jones said at the eve-of-match press conference.

"It's very easy to say no, you're tired, and be profound but for me I've got less years ahead of me than I have behind me and that's why I've still got the hunger," he added.

Jones' les Bleus counterpart Charles Ollivon recognised the achievement but refused to be drawn into praising the Ospreys lock who made his Test debut in 2006.

"You certainly have to respect it. Everyone knows what he brings to the team. Everyone knows his quality. We're not going to talk that much about it," Ollivon said.

"We're focused on the match, our match. They have a lot of very good players. Wales have plenty of other good players so it's difficult to focus on just one person," he added.

No change without fans 

Jones' side return to action this weekend after a seven-month absence due to the coronavirus pandemic which has postponed the final round of the Six Nations, when they host Scotland, until next Saturday.

"Irrelevant of what level you play at whether you're at mini rugby or professional, we've all seen and heard how much people have missed professional sport not just rugby," he said.

"As someone who is very fortunate to wear the red of Wales I'm no different."

The meeting will be played behind closed doors due to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases in the French capital.

Flanker Ollivon said the side had discussed the experience of playing at a near-empty stadium with squad members from Racing 92 and Toulouse who featured in European Champions Cup knockout stages earlier this autumn at grounds without fans.

"We've spoken to the guys, yes. Afterwards will it change things? no. We have the same preparation and effort. It doesn't change much until the match but the only thing it changes is the contact with the supporters," Ollivon said.

"We know they'll be in front of their screens watching. Our work during the week has absolutely not changed."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 22:00 SA time.

Teams:

France

15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Francois Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Thomas Ramos, 23 Arthur Vincent

Wales

15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Rhys Carre

Substitutes: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Seb Davies, 20 James Davies, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Louis Rees-Zammit

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