Edwards hails Jones as a ‘great’

Date published: January 18 2017

New Wales captain Alun-Wyn Jones is on the same level of past legends such as Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio, says assistant coach Shaun Edwards.

Jones was on Tuesday named Wales skipper after Sam Warburton decided to step down from the role in order to focus on his own game. Jones is now also considered one of the favourites for the British and Irish Lions captaincy when they tour to New Zealand later this year.

“Alun-Wyn Jones is a man you want to follow into battle,” Edwards said.

“He’s one of the few players in our team who is guaranteed their place at the moment. He is a stand-out performer. He is an incredible athlete and he has a great rugby brain as well. To have such size, power and speed and also be such an intelligent rugby player means he has the full box of tricks. He is undoubtedly one of our world-class players.

“He has such a competitive edge. All the best captains have a competitive edge where they are desperate to win,” Edwards added.

“I think what you have to take into consideration with Alun-Wyn Jones is he doesn’t just do that with Wales, he does it with the Ospreys too, and that’s what the greatest of great players do.

“Martin Johnson did it, Lawrence Dallaglio did it and Alun-Wyn Jones does it. They take their club rugby just as seriously as their international rugby, and that is something to be admired.”

Edwards was also full of praise for Warburton, who captained his country in 49 Tests.

“Sam has played some brilliant games for us when he’s been captain, and played some equally good games when he hasn’t. It’s all good,” Edwards said.

“Sam Warburton is a warrior when he is captain, and he is a warrior when he’s not captain. He has proven that many times before when he has not been captain and it hasn’t impacted on his form. At times, it has enhanced his game.”