Jones issues Lions warning for Wales team-mates

Wales captain Ryan Jones has warned his Wales side their Lions hopes will be significantly damaged if they succumb to another hiding by South Africa.


Lions manager Gerald Davies and Lions Head coach Ian McGeechan will be in the stands when Wales meet the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld in the second and final Test of the series.


The British & Irish Lions will only tour South Africa this time next year but if Wales do not take a big step up against next year’s Lions opposition on Saturday they could run the risk of being ruled out for next year’s tour.


Jones is considered as a leading candidate for the Lions captaincy and another drubbing by the Boks would see his chances of leading the Lions reduced.


“After everything I’ve been through over the last 12 months, I know that a year is an awful long time, so we won’t be thinking too much about the Lions,” he told Yahoo Sport.


“But it’s fair to say none of us will be going if we don’t pull our fingers out and start putting in some big performances.


“You’re only as good as your last game so you must go out and perform.


“But this Saturday is not about playing for anyone else, it’s about giving a good account of ourselves as a group.”


Wales coach Warren Gatland has put the cat amongst the pigeons with his selections for this week and named James Hook at full-back and Jamie Roberts at inside centre.


Hook has never started at fullback for Wales and Gatland is hoping that Hook will be able to shore up their defence as Wales let in twice as many tries in the one match against the Boks as they did in their entire Six Nations campaign.


Captain Jones has been moved to blindside flank to accommodate Gareth Delve in the back row, admits it has been a hard week but insists Wales are ready to claim redemption.


“Sunday and Monday were pretty difficult. It’s always tough when you lose,” he said.


“We’re a proud bunch and like all sportsmen we take losing personally, especially in the manner that we did.


“It was a tough couple of days but all you have to do is get back on the horse and refocus as quickly as possible.


“We need to get ready physically as quickly as we can, get the game out of the system, deal with the mental demons and put everything right.


“We have to be upbeat. We’ve only got each other out here. We’re thousands of miles away from home and there are 26 of us.


“It doesn’t get any bigger than Saturday. We’re optimistic – we go into every game hoping to win.


“This is an opportunity to redeem ourselves. That’s what it’s all about.”

 

Rugbyweek.com

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