Jones warns of All Blacks back­lash

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WELLING­TON: Alun Wyn Jones is brac­ing for a fu­ri­ous All Blacks back­lash when the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions ar­rive in Auck­land for Satur­day’s third Test series de­cider.

But first the Wales lock is al­low­ing him­self a mo­ment to savour the Lions’ 24-21 win over a 14-man New Zealand in Welling­ton. Jones was at the heart of an im­pres­sive dis­play by the Lions pack at West­pac Sta­dium, more than jus­ti­fy­ing his se­lec­tion af­ter a lack­lus­tre per­for­mance in the open­ing Test had crit­ics call­ing for his head.

The 31-year-old said the tourists needed to rest and re­group be­fore a clash with the back-to-back world cham­pi­ons in Auck­land that will see them chase the first Lions series vic­tory in New Zealand since 1971.

“We’ve got to make sure we en­joy this win be­cause I’ve had sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions in the past and not en­joyed them,” he told re­porters be­fore the squad headed to the South Is­land re­sort town of Queen­stown for a break.

“We’ll get the best out of ev­ery­one if we do en­joy it. Work some­times be­comes an ob­ses­sion and that’s not good. You have to re­alise where you are and what you’re do­ing.”

But he warned his team­mates needed to be back at their best against the wounded All Blacks at Eden Park, where the hosts have not lost since 1994.

“It’s still a level series and that’s all it is at the mo­ment. We stepped up from the first Test and there’s no doubt that they’ll do that this week. We need to build on this and be ready,” he said. “We’re 1-1 and we’ve got a big week ahead. We need to switch off and re­cover, but then we’ll look at those penal­ties and cer­tain ar­eas where we can prob­a­bly play a lit­tle bit wider.”

‘CHOMP­ING AT THE BIT’

Jones was heart­ened that the Lions for­wards fi­nally com­bined to show what they were ca­pa­ble of as a unit in Welling­ton af­ter per­form­ing only in fits and starts for much of the tour.

“In­di­vid­ual peo­ple make packs and when you do your in­di­vid­ual role in that you get a com­plete pack,” he said. “For the large part there was a lot of that, par­tic­u­larly in the first half. “We have showed our phys­i­cal­ity in spurts. Against the Cru­saders I think we showed what we could do as a pack. We an­swered some ques­tions again (in Welling­ton).

“On the whole, the per­for­mance wasn’t com­plete, but we’ll patch those ar­eas up be­cause we’re go­ing to be fac­ing an All Blacks team that’s chomp­ing at the bit next week.” Jones has pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of a Lions de­cider af­ter cap­tain­ing the side to a con­vinc­ing 41-16 third Test win over Aus­tralia in Syd­ney in 2013 to seal the series 2-1.

He said that ex­pe­ri­ence taught him that the Lions did not need to change their prepa­ra­tion rad­i­cally for this week­end’s high-stakes game but they must main­tain their fo­cus. “We know what’s at stake and the in­ten­sity in the game will go up again, as it did four years ago,” he said.

“Very lit­tle will change from our point of view. I don’t see why we can’t im­prove. —AFP

WELLING­TON: Lions sec­ond rower Alun Wyn Jones runs at New Zealand sec­ond row for­ward Sam White­lock dur­ing the sec­ond rugby test be­tween the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions and the All Blacks in Welling­ton, New Zealand, Satur­day.—AP

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