Thursday 22 February 2018

Jones keeps Welsh place despite losing captain's role

Ryan Jones has kept his Wales place, despite losing the captaincy, for tomorrow's Millennium Stadium clash against New Zealand.

Ospreys forward Jones skippered Wales in their shambolic 16-16 draw with Fiji last week, conceding an injury-time penalty that cost his team victory and then being told by head coach Warren Gatland that Matthew Rees would reclaim leadership duties against the All Blacks.

Jones described it as "the worst 20 minutes" of his rugby career, but Gatland -- who faced a chorus of media criticism from those who felt he had made Jones a scapegoat -- has retained the 29-year-old.

Wales face a Herculean task trying to stop yet another successful Grand Slam tour of Britain and Ireland by the All Blacks, whose last defeat against their Cardiff hosts came 57 years ago. Since then they have reeled off 23 successive wins in the fixture.

Wales -- L Byrne; G North, T Shanklin, J Hook, T James; S Jones, M Phillips; G Jenkins, M Rees (capt), A Jones, B Davies, A-W Jones, D Lydiate, S Warburton, R Jones. Reps: H Bennett, P James , J Thomas, A Powell, M Williams, R Rees, A Bishop.

New Zealand -- M Muliaina; I Toeava, C Smith, SB Williams, H Gear; D Carter, J Cowan; T Woodcock, K Mealamu, O Franks, B Thorn, S Whitelock, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Reps: A Hore,J Afoa, A Boric, D Braid,A Ellis, S Donald, M Nonu.

Irish Independent

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