Jones braced for Irish duo
Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones is preparing for a fierce examination from Ireland's second-row duo Donncha O'Callaghan and Paul O'Connell.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 09/03/11 11:08pm
Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones is bracing himself for a fierce examination from Ireland's second-row duo Donncha O'Callaghan and Paul O'Connell.
Jones will team up with Bradley Davies as the pair go head-to-head with the Munster double-act in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash in Cardiff.
The Ospreys forward is anticipating a fierce battle with O'Callaghan and O'Connell at the Millennium Stadium with both sides looking to finish the campaign strongly.
And the 25-year-old, a British and Irish Lions colleague of the Ireland pair in South Africa two years ago, hailed the revered second-row partnership for their durable quality.
Jones said: "You look at the last five or six years, and they've been the most consistent second-row pairing in northern hemisphere rugby, for Munster and Ireland.
"You look at the performances they've put in, and with O'Connell back now, they will add to the Ireland pack. I should imagine they will get back on the horse and go well again.
"Paul has got his match fitness back now, and that's a lot different from training fitness. The performances he has been putting in for Ireland, he's almost back to where he was."
Wales, fresh from successive Six Nations away wins against Scotland and Italy, know they will reach a tournament crossroads this weekend.
A victory would guarantee a reasonable campaign, with the potential for more, heading into their tournament finale against France in Paris next week.
But defeat would leave them facing a probable finish outside the top three, something Wales have avoided just twice in 11 seasons - both of those occasions they were Grand Slam champions.
The fixture's overriding issue though, is likely to be discipline. Wales and Ireland have conceded 78 penalties and free-kicks between them in this season's tournament and collected four yellow cards, which suggests a busy afternoon for South African referee Jonathan Kaplan.
"It has got the potential to be a decent season," said Jones. "Ireland is our last home game under pressure before we go into the World Cup warm-ups.
"At times we try too hard, rather than let things develop. We try to do everything at source sometimes.
"We made 140-odd tackles against Italy and more than 130 against Scotland, so we know our front-line defence is good enough. It's just a case of not trying too hard and letting things develop - and then choose our time wisely."