Jones: I nearly flew home
September 26, 2011
Ryan Jones was relieved to be back in the action against Namibia © Getty Images
Ryan Jones has revealed that injury almost destroyed his World Cup dream for the second tournament in succession.
Former Wales captain Jones finally stepped on to the World Cup stage in today's 81-7 victory over Namibia at Stadium Taranaki. But he feared the worst ten days ago as a persistent calf muscle problem threatened an early departure from New Zealand.
"Personally, it is a relief that I have played in a World Cup and I survived 80 minutes," Ospreys back-row forward Jones said. "It has been a very emotional week for me. It was only ten days ago that I was verging on going home on a plane. That was tough.
"But the medical staff have been fantastic and the coaching team gave me an opportunity. Hopefully, I have been able to repay it today and maybe I will get a chance to do it again. It was really special. Playing in a World Cup is something I have always aspired to do and dreamt of."
Jones was ruled out of the 2007 World Cup by injury, but his return to full fitness has give the Wales squad a huge boost as they build towards a probable quarter-final against Ireland in 12 days' time.
Wales swamped Namibia by scoring 12 tries - nine of those touchdowns came in the second-half - as a bonus-point triumph kept them on course to finish as Pool D runners-up behind world champions South Africa.
"We knew coming into the game what we had to do," Jones added. "We had a bit of a ropey second quarter when the pace slowed a little and we failed to dominate the basics of the game. But we reflected on it at half-time, and in the second half we showed just how clinical we can be.
"Collectively, we were very pleased with how the scrum went, and the lineout was pretty good, although we have got to make sure we work on our breakdown. I am pleased with the manner in which the boys performed.
"It's never easy coming into a game as favourites, but we knew Namibia would bring a physical challenge, especially at the breakdown, and they certainly didn't disappoint. We got caught a couple of times, which the best teams in the world don't do. We have to make sure we are clinical in every aspect of the game.
"We didn't fire in the second quarter of the game. We created chances, but we didn't take them. Against the best teams in the world, you get a handful of chances and it is what you do with those chances. We showed a bit more maturity in the second half.
"But it is not easy to score 80 points in a World Cup, and the boys should be very proud of that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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