We Need to Take a Leaf out of Calzaghe's Book, Argues Upbeat Jones

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

We Need to Take a Leaf out of Calzaghe's Book, Argues Upbeat Jones


Byline: By Andy Howell Western Mail

Alun wyn jones last night insisted Wales have to start talking the talk if they are to challenge rugby's top teams.

He reckons the days of building up the opposition, at their worst when dour Kiwi Steve Hansen was coach, have to end.

The intelligent and articulate Jones maintains the fear factor must become a thing of the past and be replaced by a belief and burning desire to succeed.

"Perhaps in the past, we have been too respectful towards other nations and haven't given ourselves the mental edge," he declared. "As a nation, we are reluctant to talk ourselves up. We don't do it enough in team sports - we are too nice."

The 22-year-old lock forward insists Welsh rugby players should follow the lead of the country's world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe.

Super-middleweight king Calzaghe doesn't mince his words when dealing with the opposition, telling them he believes he is the best.

That belief has been a key factor in his 10-year stint as king of the ring with his opponents often being psyched out.

Wales have had a reputation in the rugby world for being mentally fragile and Jones is adamant that must change, starting against World Cup holders South Africa at the Millennium Stadium today.

"There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. You only have got to look at the southern hemisphere sides and the England side of previous years to see what it has done for them," he said.

"We seem to be happy where we are, but we should say our good we are. If you keep knocking yourselves down, eventually you believe you are not going to be successful.

"I know you have got to back it up with results, but you have got to believe to succeed. Don't and you won't."

Jones insists Wales are far better than their results at the World Cup in France. They crashed out of the tournament after failing to beat Fiji in Nantes in their pool stage eliminator. …

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