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Super Jones Kept Waiting

Super Jones Kept Waiting

Heineken Cup hero Stephen Jones will have to wait until later in the week to find out if he will be allowed to carry over his match-winning goal-kicking duties for Llanelli into the Welsh side in Dublin at the weekend.
Jones may have landed a perfect 16 out of 16 penalties for the Scarlets in their European triumphs over Leicester and Bath, but Wales coach Graham Henry has decided nothing other than to hand Jones the No 10 shirt for the Six Nations opener on Sunday.
Cardiff’s rugby league convert Iestyn Harris is the man in possession of the goal-kicking duties for Wales having notched 40 points in his three international appearances to date.
And even though Jones has picked up two successive Heineken Cup man of the match trophies for his match winning exploits, Harris is still likely to be given first use of the kicking tee at Lansdowne Road.
“I haven’t discussed it with the two players as yet, so I’m not saying anything until I have done so,” said Henry after announcing his team.
“It’s a good position to be in, a real positive for us. Iestyn has been in great form with the boot and so has Stephen.
“But there are far more important areas of the game for us to concentrate on at the moment and a decision on the goal-kicking will be made when I get round to it.
“There is no doubt that the victories by Llanelli and Pontypridd in Europe at the weekend have given a huge lift to all of the boys in the squad. I thought Llanelli were magnificent at Bath and I have heard that Pontypridd were just as good at Saracens – to go and beat a side of the quality of Saracens is marvellous.”
Bridgend’s Nathan Budgett has been handed the blindside flanker role vacated by the axed Colin Charvis while Cardiff’s Spencer John claims the loose head prop spot.
Newport’s Chris Anthony figures at tight head prop following the demise of Darren Morris as the successor to former Wales skipper Dai Young.
Cardiff wing Craig Morgan becomes Wales’ 998th new cap in a side that will be chasing it’s first win on the opening weekend of the Six Nations championship in five seasons.
Having been crushed by a record 36-6 margin by thre Irish at the Millennium Stadium in October, Wales are bound to start as underdogs in Dublin, although the loss to the Irish pack of Ketih Wood and Malcolm O’Kelly will be a boost to their chances.
“Ireland will be disappointed to be missing two world class players, especially Keith Wood. For me, he is the best in the world,” said new Wales forwards coach Steve Hansen.
“But I want to look at, and concentrate on, our side and if we can finish this match and the championship having earend the respect of the other nations and our own supporters then I will be a happy man.
“It has become obvious to me that our biggest strength is our passion – I get that message from just walking along the street. But we have to remember that the Irish are also passionate people and so Sunday promises to be a great day.
“I just can’t wait for the game to get started. The weekend results in Europe are irrelevant to me – it is all about Wales v Ireland on Sunday.
“The guys have worked very hard in training and like me they are just looking forward to getting the campaign underway.”

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