Wales boss Wayne Pivac believes captain Alun Wyn Jones will want to ‘keep going’ with 35-year-old lock forward set to make decision on his future after Six Nations
- Alun Wyn Jones has his sights set of winning his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam
- Wales boss Wayne Pivac says veteran lock Jones can keep going for years
- His contract with Welsh Rugby Union and Ospreys expires at end of the season
Alun Wyn Jones, can keep going for years yet according to his Wales boss Wayne Pivac, as the evergreen 35-year-old continues to defy the ageing process.
The Welsh captain is attempting to win his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam in the next fortnight.
And the odds are shortening on Jones becoming Lions captain, if the tour goes ahead this year, on his fourth trip.
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has his sights set of winning his fourth Six Nations Grand Slam
While Jones’ contract with the Welsh Rugby Union is up this summer it is expected he will sign on for more, and Pivac has backed him to keep performing well past his mid-30s.
‘The conversation Alun and I have had had over a period of time is we are very comfortable having him in the environment, he is very comfortable in the environment,’ said Pivac.
‘We just have a chat at the end of season as to what we are going to do the following season. We are very comfortable with that situation.
‘You will see he is enjoying his rugby at the moment, he is enjoying his training and got a smile on his face and a lot of banter away from the training field.
Jones’ contract with Welsh Rugby Union and Ospreys finishes at the end of the season
‘He is enjoying life and while he is enjoying life I think he will want to keep going. Certainly he will keep getting selected when he is putting the performances that he is.
‘He is one person that is very proud to be putting on the jersey. Once you let that go it’s a tough thing to do for a lot of players because it’s an adrenaline rush putting the jersey on and playing test match rugby.
‘It is something Al has done for a long time. The question for Al is he still enjoying it and I think you can see that in his face.’
Jones is making sure the Welsh do not get carried away dreaming of Grand Slams too early with the Italians next.
He has completed clean sweeps in 2008, 2012 and 2019, winning another title in 2013, and Pivac says his leadership, aided by a cohort of senior men, is outstanding.
Wales boss Wayne Pivac says veteran lock Jones can keep going for years to come
‘He’s been in this situation so many times so it’s invaluable the information he puts across to the younger guys who are probably experiencing it for the first time or haven’t done it that often,’ added the head coach who once again picked a record-breaking XV in the Six Nations for the Italy match this Saturday, which has 979 caps in it.
‘The senior players are invaluable, have experienced it, and have the emotional support for the others around them that are experiencing this situation for the first time.
‘Look it’s exciting – the oldest and the youngest player, when you get to the opportunity where you can do something special you want to put in the hard work.
‘That’s what Al has stressed. We work hard, keep our feet on the ground and worry about only one opposition and that’s Italy. The minute you take your eye off the ball performances suffer.’
Wales go to Rome this weekend, and then face the French in Paris on the final day knowing they can sweep the board.
Tomos Williams is not over his hamstring injury yet so Gareth Davies starts against Italy with Lloyd Williams on the bench. Lock Cory Hill is the only other change to the starting XV – named two days earlier than usual this week – that beat England last time out as Adam Beard is rested.
On Italy – who have not won a Championship game since 2015 – Pivac said: ‘I’m enjoying watching them. But it takes time, it really does take time to do that.
‘I’ve experienced that myself over many years of coming into an organisation and making change. But I like what they’re doing. Hopefully they’ll just stick with it because it does take time.’
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