Wales' Ryan Jones already focused on Scotland clash

 

Ryan Jones has braced Wales for the next step in their RBS 6 Nations title challenge and believes this season's competition remains wide open.

Jones and company arrived home from Dublin today after putting themselves on course for silverware following a thrilling 23-21 victory over Ireland.

Three of the World Cup semi-finalists' remaining four games are in Cardiff, starting next Sunday when try-shy Scotland arrive at the Millennium Stadium.

The build-up, though, could be affected by suspension and injuries.

Wales lock Bradley Davies is likely to be cited for a reckless tip-tackle on Irish replacement Donnacha Ryan that saw him given a yellow card when it should have been red, while skipper Sam Warburton suffered a leg injury that forced him off at half-time.

Match citing commissioner, Italian Achille Reali, has until 5pm tomorrow to decide on any citing, which would then mean a Six Nations disciplinary panel convening, probably in London on Wednesday.

Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted Davies was fortunate not to be sent off by referee Wayne Barnes and a lengthy ban appears likely, one that could easily sideline him for the remainder of this season's tournament.

Gatland would then have a second-row selection poser with Luke Charteris and Alun-Wyn Jones currently unavailable through injuries, which might mean Jones moving up to lock, especially if flanker Dan Lydiate is available after an ankle problem ruled him out of Wales' Dublin trip.

"We've got to plan, potentially, for him (Davies) being cited," Gatland said after the game.

"I've seen a replay, and I won't deny it wasn't fantastic. Potentially, we have got to prepare for the worst.

"When you go behind with 15 minutes to go and you have a yellow card, you don't have a lot of time to get back into the game."

Jones took over the captaincy after Warburton departed and said: "It was nice to be on the right end of a result like that.

"A lot is made out of the importance of confidence in this competition and it helps when you start with a win.

"We are buoyed by the success, but next weekend is another game and Scotland will be smarting after losing to England in their first match.

"We know what challenge they are going to bring early doors, so it is up to us to get our own house in order.

"We have to keep winning. You can talk about confidence and momentum, but this competition is about one game at a time. It is still wide open.

"But we have put ourselves in a good position. We are still in control of our own future, which is where you want to be going into the next few fixtures.

"It was wonderful to be in that changing room and nice to be on the end of a result like that for a change. We seem to have been on what I would call the wrong end a few times.

"It was a great afternoon, a wonderful advert for Six Nations rugby with two teams going at it hammer and tongs and the game won in the last 20 seconds. The drama was wonderful."

Jones also saluted some high-class individual contributions, notably from try-scorers George North and Jonathan Davies, scrum-half Mike Phillips and prop Rhys Gill, on his first Six Nations start.

"I thought George was great," Jones added. "He did everything asked of him and a bit more.

"At this level it is nice to have something up your sleeve like George, and he came up with a wonderful bit of skill to put 'Foxy' (Jonathan Davies) in for his second try.

"He and George were wonderful individuals, while Mike Phillips and Rhys were superb. It bodes well.

"A lot was made of the injuries, but everyone stepped up to the mark and performed. The boys deserve all the credit they get."

PA

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