Ryan Jones has urged Wales to be “bold, brave and clinical” in their make-or-break RBS 6 Nations clash against Scotland.
Victory at Murrayfield would reignite Wales’ Six Nations title hopes after a 26-19 loss to England in their opening game.
The odds though, suggest otherwise, given that Wales have gone eight Tests without a win, triumphed in just two of their last 14 games and only recorded three Murrayfield successes since 1985. Not since a 10-match losing run under New Zealander Steve Hansen between November 2002 and August 2003 can Wales reflect on such a demoralising and prolonged spell in the doldrums.
They will also encounter a Scotland team rejuvenated under Andy Robinson’s coaching direction, one that has toppled world champions South Africa and beaten Argentina twice in South America during an eight-month period.
“I’ve been in and around the environment for a long time now, and been through some highs and lows,” said former Wales captain Jones, who wins his 48th cap this weekend.
“I have been very fortunate to have captained the team, and I try and support Matthew (Rees) now in what he is doing. We’ve also got a lot of youngsters who possibly haven’t got that experience to draw upon.
“There are certain players in this environment that others will look to when things aren’t going so well.
“If those guys are walking round with their heads down, it does have an effect on everyone else.
“We are going to go up there as slight underdogs, and we’ve got to thrive on that. We’ve got to make sure we are bold, brave at times too, and certainly be more clinical.”
France full-back Clement Poitrenaud has warned Ireland that they should not expect Les Bleus to continue their free-flowing approach in tomorrow’s RBS 6 Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium.
The two most recent Grand Slam winners go into the game on the back of contrasting performances in their opening fixtures.
Ireland laboured to a 13-11 victory over Italy in Rome, needing a late Ronan O’Gara drop goal to deny the Azzurri a famous win, while France produced the flair and élan that their play is so admired for as they ran in four tries in a 34-21 win over Scotland in Paris.
Toulouse man Poitrenaud – reknowned for his attacking flair – insists that France will be looking to play a more balanced game.
“People should not count on me to run every ball that comes to me,” he said.
“I have developed other facets to returning the ball other than running with it. If I need to use my kicking game, I will employ it.
“It is imperative that we don’t focus solely on running it and to realise that we will have to kick the ball as well.”