Welcome return for Jones

Over the years, I must confess, the small campaigns which have been conducted in this column have not enjoyed the greatest fortune. Indeed, they have often produced a result opposite to that intended.

For many seasons I urged Rob Andrew and Stuart Barnes to split the outside-half and full-back positions between them. Instead they contested the former position alone. And Barnes (who perhaps would have done better to opt for Wales) turned out to be the loser.

Then there was another outside- half, Aled Williams of Swansea, who I thought deserved an extended run in the national side. Nothing happened. My efforts on behalf of the Neath, Llanelli and now Treorchy flanker, Lyn Jones, were equally unavailing.

I accordingly thought a period of silence on my part would be welcome to those players who were ambitious of international recognition and had happened to catch my eye. Nothing but damage to their careers, I regretfully concluded, would result from any commendations on my part.

There was, however, one exception: Robert Jones. I was not prepared to keep quiet about him. There were two reasons for this. One was that he was already an established international player. The other was that, well, it was impossible - such was the manifest injustice being done to him - to remain silent about his continuing omission from the Welsh side.

That injustice has now been remedied, not before time. It is being generally assumed that Jones is being restored to enable Wales to play a more open game. Against France at Parc des Princes, this would be madness - even though Wales have, in Wayne Proctor and Nigel Walker, the two fastest wings in the Five Nations' Championship.

We all know Jones has a long, quick pass. But he is also a consummate kicker of the ball into the corners. Had everyone forgotten how, in the Cardiff rain six years ago, he defeated England virtually single-handed with his metronomic kicks to touch of which his father-in-law, Clive Rowlands, would have been proud?

The Welsh back row is certainly solid. Alas, it is little more, though Richie Collins (33 in March) has enjoyed a spirited return to international rugby. Stuart Davies was a good club No 8 and remained one when he was playing for Wales. He is now at No 6, even though he cannot hold down a regular position in the Swansea side. Phil Davies, the No 8, is a fine player but I cannot see him skipping around Parc des Princes like a spring lamb.

The injuries to Emyr Lewis and Hemi Taylor should have provided Wales with the opportunity to try some younger players such as Rory Jenkins. Is it impossible to produce a back row who are not quite so near to claiming their Railcards?

From Wales to England: no one seems to have pointed out quite how embarrassing the relegation of Harlequins to the Second Division, if it came about, could turn out to be. It would not simply be a question of the toffs' club biting the dust, doubtless t o much sniggering north of Watford. The future of three current England players - Will Carling, Jason Leonard and Brian Moore - would also be in doubt.

Moore has already said that he hopes to play international rugby after this summer's World Cup. It would be surprising if Carling and Leonard, who are both younger, took a different view of their futures.

And yet Jack Rowell has made it fairly clear that he will not consider anyone for the national side who does not play regularly in the Courage First Division. When Saracens were in that lower division, Ben Clarke moved from them to Bath to better himself; while Leonard was persuaded to join Quins.

Today, Saracens look virtually certain to be promoted to the First Division. Perhaps Leonard will end up by rejoining them. What Carling and Moore will do I do not know.

The position of poor Steve Ojomoh who has made overtures both to Quins and to the still more imperilled Northampton, is equally precarious. However, the Welsh selectors have adopted, though not yet chosen, Jenkins, the Quins No 7, because he has a Welsh grandmother. They do not seem over-concerned about the possibility of his club's relegation. Perhaps Ojomoh should have discovered a Welsh grandmother too.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Anna Smaill’s debut novel, The Chimes, is a fusion of fantasy and romance
booksMan Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Sport
Ji So-Yun scores the only goal of the game
sport
Arts and Entertainment
One of the Pyongyang posters, the slogan of which reads: ‘Let the exploits of the northern railway conductors shine!’
art
Life and Style
Linguine with mussels and fresh tomatoes
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer