Alun Wyn Jones: Wales aiming to help lift nation in France clash
Last Updated: 23/10/20 6:16pm
Alun Wyn Jones hopes Wales can help "lift a nation" during their six-game autumn schedule which begins on Saturday.
Wales' first Test match for seven months sees them tackle France in Paris, having lost 27-23 to Les Blues in Cardiff during this year's Six Nations.
The game will take place behind closed doors at Stade de France, while Paris is currently subject to overnight curfews and Wales is about to begin a two-week lockdown period amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"I've been involved in games where the crowd has got us over the line and got us through tough campaigns," said Wales captain Jones, who equals Richie McCaw's 148-Test world appearance record this weekend.
"We realise having been involved in successful campaigns in the past you can lift a nation and the country, and that's what we will endeavour to do [against France] and throughout this campaign.
"Irrelevant of what level you play at, whether you are at mini rugby or professional, we've all seen and heard how much people have missed professional sport, not just rugby. As someone who is very fortunate to wear the red of Wales, I am no different.
"I saw Bill Belichick, the coach of the [New England] Patriots [NFL team], asked what it was like playing a game behind closed doors, and he said it was like practice. For us, having already done it domestically, we definitely miss the fans, and it will be no different at international level.
We realise having been involved in successful campaigns in the past you can lift a nation and the country, and that's what we will endeavour to do [against France] and throughout this campaign.
Alun Wyn Jones
"You see people want to get back and watch and be involved in sport, and we do feel that, but ultimately, we do have a job to do once we cross the whitewash."
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac, meanwhile, has put an emphasis on his team eliminating mistakes following the defeat to France seven months ago when the visitors capitalised on unforced errors.
Pivac's side suffered three successive Six Nations losses earlier this year, which ended their title hopes following last season's Grand Slam triumph, and they have not suffered four defeats on the bounce since 2016.
"It's not going to be easy by any stretch as it's our first game for a long time, but if we eliminate the mistakes, I think we should go okay," Pivac said.
"It's about getting a game under our belt before we finish off the Six Nations next weekend. It's very important we have a good performance and finish off the Six Nations well.
"So we are going to make sure we put some smiles on some faces. That is what we want to do in this campaign of six matches.
"We want to make our country and communities proud. That is what we are going to try and achieve."