Alun Wyn Jones says Wales will focus on themselves rather than England
Alun Wyn Jones says that Wales’ focus will be firmly on themselves rather than the opposition in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup clash against England.
While Wales go into the Parc y Scarlets encounter with just one win from their last seven Tests, England are on a six-game winning run.
They clinched the Guinness Six Nations title during that sequence of victories, and Eddie Jones’ team require just a point in Llanelli to reach the Nations Cup final.
“We are going to go about our business and have to focus on ourselves more than them,” said Wales skipper Jones, who makes a 22nd appearance against England this weekend.
“We know the threat they pose and what they are going to bring, but you can focus too much on your opposition.”
Asked about the non-negotiables for an England Test, Jones added: “It’s pretty basic rugby things. Discipline, keep the ball and score more points than the opposition.
“It’s a basic answer, but it’s pretty simple. That applies to any game and opposition.
“Obviously, there is the added sideshow and circus of Wales-England, but we are in a different context of a competition.”
Wales have beaten England seven times from the last 10 attempts on home soil, but a gap of seven places in World Rugby’s current rankings – England are second, with Wales ninth – underlines how big a challenge Jones and company face.
“They (England) have carried on in a similar vein to where they left off back in February and March,” Jones said. “We know the threat and intensity they will bring.
“The strength in depth they have in a lot of positions is clear to see, and the consistency they have.
“There are probably a lot of names that potentially go under the radar that underpin a lot of their star performers.”
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will hand a number of players huge opportunities on Saturday – individuals such as 19-year-old Gloucester wing Louis Rees-Zammit, Scarlets centre Johnny Williams and Cardiff Blues flankers Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Botham.
Between them, they have won just six caps, but Pivac is certain to learn more about his rising prospects ahead of this season’s Six Nations and a longer road towards the 2023 World Cup in France.
Pivac said: “I think you are seeing opportunities now for these young guys, and it’s now up to them to take these opportunities.
“I think they have made a reasonable start, and there are two more games left in this competition.
“We will ask questions in these two games, and we will get some answers. The Six Nations won’t be about opportunities, it will be about who has got form at the time.
“Across the board, the guys are excited at training, they are excited about what we are trying to achieve and want to achieve.
“It is going to take a bit of time, and they realise that and we realise that.
“Hopefully, we will get opportunities to show a bit more of the attacking rugby that we want to play, but again, against England we have to make sure that the base that we play off is stable.”