Justin Tipuric has praised Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones ahead of their Six Nations opener against Italy.
The 31-year-old, who has won 105 caps and led the 2013 British and Irish Lions to a Test series-win over Australia, has been handed the captaincy for the Six Nations.
He will enter the gladiator’s arena with his troops on Sunday as Wales bid to kick off their campaign with a victory over Conor O’Shea’s Italy in Rome. And Tipuric says it is more than just blood, sweat and tears that make Jones a leader of men.
“He is passionate and he is always setting standards. With Al, it’s all the off-field stuff you don’t really see,” Tipuric told the Wales website.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with him at the Ospreys for a number of years now and it is the little things that stand out. If we go out for food, we go as a team, or if someone doesn’t put away a coffee cup he’ll let them know – he is always setting standards about being tight as a team.”
Rob Howley’s men will have to foil Italy talisman Sergio Parisse if they are to claim an 11th successive win over the Azzurri. And Tipuric cannot wait to tangle with the Italian skipper in Rome.
“He is world-class and he makes Italy tick. Everything revolves around him and he is such a great leader,” admitted Tipuric.
“He could easily have finished and taken a big pay-cheque somewhere, but he has stuck with his country and you can see what type of person he is. He really cares about his country.
“When he plays he can do everything. He can tackle, he’s a leader and that is what you look for in those superstar-type players.”