Gatland urges restraint from Jones
February 10, 2010
Alun-Wyn Jones trudges off the field after being sent to the sin-bin during last weekend's clash with England © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland insists he never contemplated dropping lock Alun-Wyn Jones following his costly yellow card against England.
The Ospreys second row was the subject of widespread criticism after his trip on England hooker Dylan Hartley proved pivotal in their Six nations opener. England scored 17 unanswered points while Jones was off the pitch and eventually fell to a 30-17 defeat at the hands of their old rivals.
Jones has been granted a reprieve by Gatland and with it an opportunity to make amends for his misdemeanour but the Wales boss has urged the player not to go for broke in a bid to restore his reputation.
"I think he will respond to the disappointment and feel he needs to make amends on Saturday," said Gatland. "We are not talking about going out and being man-of-the-match, just going out there and being accurate, putting your body on the line, hitting rucks when they need to be hit, making your tackles, winning lineouts and pushing hard in the scrum. Anything else is a bonus. We are not looking for any Superman effort."
Gatland insisted no thought was given to axing Jones from a side that shows just two changes - wing Leigh Halfpenny replacing his Cardiff Blues colleague Tom James and Jonathan Thomas in for lock Luke Charteris - from Twickenham.
"He is a player who gives 100% and has delivered well for Wales," Gatland added. "He's not a serial offender. If it was someone who had picked up lots of yellow cards and given away lots of penalties, then the sanction might have been to leave him out and drop him because you need to make that decision. There was no discussion from us in terms of dropping him.
"We all felt he had made a stupid error, and he is an intelligent enough person that he is remorseful and he will learn from it. We are all human and we all make mistakes." For his part, Jones accepted the trip on Hartley was "stupid, idiotic."
"It was more of a reaction - probably one of the worst reactions I've had on the rugby pitch," he said. "At the time, I thought it would jeopardise my international career. You've got to have that sort of view when you make those mistakes because obviously the opportunities to play (international rugby) are few and far between. This opportunity is now there to put it right.
"You don't want to try too hard because you could go over the edge, and you don't want to play too conservatively because you would jeopardise your selection for the next game. A text came through earlier from a friend saying 'just do what you do usually, and don't think about anything else.' I think that is apt for the weekend. I have never said I am an enforcer. I have always said I like to play my rugby - I'm not one for the dark arts."
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