The Wales wing Mark Jones has overcome a fair few hurdles during this autumn Test series in order to be in position to face up to Australia tomorrow. First it was a knee injury, then a teenage tearaway called Leigh Halfpenny and, finally, world rugby's player of the year stalling his progress.
But the Scarlets wing continued putting in the hard yards and, after watching Wales' matches with South Africa and New Zealand, he will be back at the sharp end against Australia. His chance comes because 19-year-old Halfpenny is taking a breather. The International Rugby Board player of the year Shane Williams is on the other wing, so Jones accepts he must take his chance.
"Every time you pull the shirt on you have to perform," he said. "I've been under no illusions about that from the first day I played. At this level, if players can't handle the pressure then they are in the wrong game, I suppose. It's up to me to try and deal with that pressure.
"Shane is IRB player of the year and the new kid on the block has been playing well. To think I can come in and add a little bit, I would like to think means he [Gatland] holds me in a good regard. I want to repay Warren for that."
"Being picked is the easy bit. The difficult bit is playing well. It's the usual scenario. If I go out and make three or four errors early on, people are going to be saying, 'What's he doing back in the team?' You are always going to have that pressure, but you have just got to get on with it."Reuse content