Jones keen to play on with Wales
October 20, 2011
Stephen Jones has no intention of calling time on his international career just yet © Getty Images
Veteran Wales fly-half Stephen Jones has revealed that he hopes to continue on playing for his country after the Rugby World Cup.
The Scarlets playmaker, who will turn 34 this December, is now Wales' third-choice No.10, after falling behind Rhys Priestland and James Hook in the pecking order over the course of the tournament.
Consequently, Friday's third-place play-off seems like a suitable occasion for Jones to bring the curtain down on his illustrious playing career. However, the former British & Irish Lion insists that he is keen to play on at the highest level.
"I'm enjoying playing for Wales and being part of this fantastic squad," Jones said. "There's a great group of youngsters coming through and I'm enjoying it.
"If I get the opportunity to put the Welsh jersey on again that will be fantastic. But I'm just enjoying my rugby and that's what counts for me at the moment."
Given the heart-breaking nature of their semi-final defeat by France last weekend, a game in which they lost prop Adam Jones to injury and Sam Warburton to an 18th-minute red card, there has been the suggestion that Wales could have done without having to stick around for their relatively meaningless 'Bronze Final' clash with Australia.
However, Jones insists that the players are grateful for the opportunity to end their campaign on a high with a win over the Wallabies.
"We want to make sure we're successful and we want to finish third in this competition," Jones said. "There are a lot of proud people in this squad and back home who want us to do well and we have to make sure that we perform.
"We're playing in a World Cup game, you're putting the Welsh jersey on and that's a massive honour. Whenever you put that jersey on you have a responsibility to it."
Jones' enthusiasm was echoed by forwards coach Robin McBryde, who is hoping that Wales can equal their best ever finish at a World Cup, which, coincidentally, was achieved with a win over the Aussies the last time the tournament was staged in New Zealand, in 1987.
"It's not the game we want to be in but let's make a good go of it," he said. "We're not taking the Australian team lightly. We know it's going to be a battle. It's a game that we need to win.
"We can create a bit of history away from home, so it's not all lost. But we'll look forward to getting that welcome home back in Wales after a win on Friday night."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Following the passing of Jack Kyle, Huw Richards pays tribute to arguably the finest player Ireland has produced
"When Mike Burton was sent off I thought the world had gone crazy - just Pommy bashing, hitting anyone." Behind the Rose heads back to 1975
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance