Wales: Alun Wyn Jones is the ‘ultimate professional’ says Adam Beard

Date published: June 23 2022 - Dylan Coetzee

Wales second-row Adam Beard described his team-mate Alun Wyn Jones as an “ultimate professional” and someone who pushes the standards in the national set-up.

Jones struggled with a shoulder injury in 2021 and has only made one appearance since October in the final round of the Six Nations, where Italy claimed an historic win over Wales in Cardiff.

Big series ahead

Beard believes that Jones powers the enthusiasm in the side, and whether he is captain or not, he is a strong leader for Wayne Pivac’s men – something that will be required for a tricky three-match Test series against the Springboks in South Africa next month.

“Al is the ultimate professional, and he is looking very good,” he said. “He is always the one setting standards, pushing the boys along.

“You can see the enthusiasm and everything he has around the squad. He is the the one driving it, always chatting, and he is enjoying his rugby.

“He might prefer to be captain, he might not, I am not too sure. It might take a little bit of pressure off him not being the captain, but you just know the leadership roles he has anyway.

“He might not have the captain’s armband, but he is still the one leading the enthusiasm, squad ethics and stuff like that.”

Wales has a less than impressive record on South African soil, losing 10 previous Tests, but Beard says his side is more suited to the underdog role.

“I think we work best when we are actually underdogs,” he added.

“Going into this tour, nobody has given us any sort of chance to go out there and get a victory against South Africa. As a Welsh nation, we thrive under those circumstances.

“We were three points away from beating South Africa and being in a World Cup final three years ago and last autumn we were unlucky not to get a victory.

“They are big men who are very direct and they come hard at you. We know our set-piece has got to be on point and definitely the physicality point of the game. We have got to take it head-on to them.

“Last week, we had a bit of a hit-out with a referee coming in. We had two teams of 15 pretty much going at it live in all our different game scenarios.

“We haven’t played for a couple of weeks so it’s important that we’ve had those training sessions where it needs to get a bit tasty, a bit lively, so when we got out to South Africa we are ready for that confrontation.

“There is no better opportunity now to dust off what has happened, get on this tour and prove a point to everyone who is doubting us.”

READ MORE: Springboks: Jacques Nienaber expects a strong challenge from ‘desperate’ Wales