Jones remains as hungry as ever
August 5, 2011
Wales fly-half Stephen Jones will make history at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon © Getty Images
Veteran Wales fly-half Stephen Jones will become his country's most capped international at Twickenham on Saturday and he intends to add many more caps to the record before he eventually calls time on his illustrious career.
The Scarlets fly-half will make his 101st Test appearance in the game against England, taking sole possession of the record he has been sharing with Gareth Thomas.
Given that he will turn 34 at the end of the year, World Cup, which gets underway in New Zealand next month, would appear a fittingly grand stage on which to bow out of international rugby. However, Jones insists that he will continue playing top-level rugby for as long as possible.
"I am obviously delighted to get the record, no two ways about it," the former British & Irish Lions said. "It is a great honour. My first cap was way back in 1998, and I have enjoyed the whole experience being part of the Wales set-up over the years.
"As a player, you have goals, and I think it is important you do so. You have got to be ambitious, and the bottom line is you have got to enjoy it. I don't think it is the type of game you can play if you are not enjoying it.
"I am enjoying my rugby as much as ever. I haven't made a decision on the future, I will just keep going and keep enjoying the working environment."
With World Cup places still up for grabs, the game at Twickenham will certainly not lack in intensity, though the result is largely unimportant. However, Wales are determined to avoid a repeat of the 62-5 beating they suffered at the same venue in the run-up to the 2007 World Cup in France. Jones did not feature in that fixture but he did reference it when it came to addressing the importance of this weekend's encounter.
"We were outgunned and outplayed in a big way in 2007," he said. "It is a different environment and setting this time, and we realise the importance of this match. We didn't perform well in our last game of the Six Nations [against France].
"We have got to play to our strengths a lot better, manipulate their defence and get our good runners into the game in mismatch scenarios. We need players like Shane [Williams] to use his talents against front-five forwards, so we've got to have high numbers running against their low numbers.
"It's a Test match, simple as that, and every player realises what is at stake."
From his own perspective, Jones is looking forward to going head-to-head with England's legendary fly-half Jonny Wilkinson.
"We haven't played against each other on that many occasions, but he is a quality player and I have the utmost respect for him," he said. "He works hard on his game. He is committed to being the best and you have got to admire him for that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.