Alun Wyn Jones has been named as captain for Wales’ Autumn Nations Cup opener against Ireland in Dublin where he will run out for his 150th Test match for his country.
Alun Wyn Jones to play 150th Test for Wales
Jones broke Richie McCaw’s record for the most Test caps in Wales final 2020 Six Nations match and will now become the first man to bring up his 150.
Scotland put a dampener on Jones’ caps record by beating Wales in Llanelli and the skipper comes into this match feeling the pressure as much as coach Wayne Pivac.
Jones a ‘pest’ to play against
Opposite Jones will be Ireland’s Iain Henderson, who roomed with the Wales skipper on the British and Irish Lions 2017 tour to New Zealand. The Ireland number five has admitted that he hates playing against Jones.
“I roomed with him [Alun Wyn Jones] on the Lions tour and he’s a great lad,” said Henderson. “He was insightful in almost everything you would chat to him about. I really don’t like playing against him; it’s probably one of his biggest talents and I think when players don’t like playing against other players it’s almost a compliment to the kind of player they are.
“He obviously adds a fair bit of oomph to their pack; he is an absolute pest when it comes to breakdown and maul time. You know the scrum generally looks a bit stronger when he’s in behind there. In terms of the charisma that he brings to their team he’s captained them a lot and has a lot of leadership qualities which you see coming out, not only for Wales and Ospreys but you saw it coming out for the British and Irish Lions.
“So those are things that he brings and trying to negate that is difficult because he is a resilient character who will continue to bring that no matter how the game is going for them. I’d enjoy playing against him for that sort of reason but the other challenge is enjoying playing against him and it’s good to catch up with him after games too.”
Wales Team vs Ireland
Leigh Halfpenny; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Shane Lewis-Hughes; Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Will Rowlands; Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre
Replacements: Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Lloyd Williams, Callum Sheedy, George North.