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Ryan Jones

French defeat gives hope to all (7)

Swansea - So we're off and running and we've seen already that nothing comes easy at this level.

As I suggested in a previous blog, I thought the weight of expectation would be a huge burden for the French players to shoulder and the manner in which they stuttered through their match against Argentina, lacking even a fraction of the attacking conviction evident in the warm-ups against England and Wales, proved this to be true.

Conversely, the purpose with which the Pumas went about their task was streets apart from the fairly lack-lustre attitude that they had shown in their pre-World Cup contests. But, hey, it's now that it counts!

Their national anthem typified this determination and the sight of hardened competitors publicly displaying the depth of their emotion for this occasion was awe-inspiring.

It just shows what this tournament means to individuals, teams and entire nations - and the television footage of the Argentine fan struggling to fight back his tears during the anthem will be one of France 2007's enduring images.

Wales can take encouragement from Argentina's win over the tournament hosts. It proves that the warm-up games need not have any significance on the performances in competition.

I have read with interest that Australia legend John Eales thinks Wales have no chances of topping Pool B. He was of the opinion that you cannot switch on form overnight and peaking should be a gradual process.

To a degree he is right, but France's shock defeat goes some way to disproving that notion.

Furthermore, Wales went into the 2003 competition on the back of a record hiding at home to England's second string.

We went on to push both England and New Zealand, arguably the best two teams in the tournament, to their very limits, playing some exhilarating stuff along the way.

As for today's contest with Canada, I'm sure the boys will be ready to explode into the game and really put to bed these kinds of doubts that have surrounded their preparation.

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I must use this opportunity to say how chuffed I am for Dwayne Peel, who will be leading Wales for the first time.

It's a just reward for a man who has been one of the country's most consistent performers for years now - he's held in the highest regard within the squad as both a player and as a person.

It is easy to think of Dwayne as a fresh-faced youngster given his youthful exuberance on the field and it only seems like yesterday that he was breaking onto the international scene.

But he has over 50 caps to his name now and his role in the team is central to how we perform as a whole.

He is the key to our tempo and our ability to play the game in our preferred areas at our preferred pace and, in this regard, he has always been an on-field leader.

Being closely involved with the backs and the forwards, scrum-half is arguably one of the best positions to captain a team from and I've no doubt he will do a fine job.

Ryan Jones plays number eight for Wales but misses the World Cup through injury.

Ryan Jones plays number eight for Wales but misses the World Cup through injury.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 01:50 PM on 09 Sep 2007,
  • iolo madoc-jones wrote:

i've just nipped upstairs in the half time break. What a shambles the Welsh team are. i still think they are a good team playing badly rather than a bad team playing as well as they can. The responsibiltiy for that must lie with the coaches whos eem to ahve compelely run out of ideas.

  • 2.
  • At 02:22 PM on 09 Sep 2007,
  • Ben In France wrote:

Why is anybody surprised by this Argentina win? It shouldn't be a shock or be considered an upset, Argentina have won five out of the last six tests against France, and the one they lost at the end of last year was by one point. France are better than England, but still lost to them this year, nobody seriously thinks England has a chance in this WC, so France is going to have to raise it's game massively.France has lost all six tests to the ABs since the last WC, the average score is 43-9, and that's Europe's best team. Maybe this result should just make people get real about the relative strength of European rugby right now.

  • 3.
  • At 02:27 PM on 09 Sep 2007,
  • brad scott wrote:

2:30 pm- Whats your opinion now then?

  • 4.
  • At 10:13 PM on 09 Sep 2007,
  • Juan Mielke wrote:

He, he.... not only France has suffered the "fangs" of the PUMAS lately..... have we all forgot the test match in Twickenham last November?

Maybe now it is time to start considering another Southern hemisphere team for the "7 nations cup"?

Until a few years ago, Argentina proved herself perfectly cappable of "organizing" and orchestrating excellent team work in groups up to eleven players, remember?...... now it seems the "notch" went to fifteen... that if I am not mistaken is "Platoon level....

Come on Pumas, give us another show in your next game !!!

Juan, an Argentine in exile !!! ;)

And yes, I did also cry !!!!

Hey guys thaqnks again for all your comments - nothing like healthy debate hey! Sorry my next installment isn't up yet but it won't be long i promise. With all my rehab, watching rugby and tv work i'm struggling to find time!!

Your right the Argentinians were the team of the first weekend they did there homework and played with such determination - what an opening game!

Ben i wouldn't write france off just yet!!

Brad- 5 points in the bag!!

iolo - show more faith there is more to come from our team!

  • 6.
  • At 09:56 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Well.....what can you say except job done. There is no doubt that Alfie and Stephen Jones have to start on saturday. That leaves the dilemma of what to do with Hook. I'm not sure about playing him at 12 but Sonny Parker was a bit lacklustre for long periods on Sunday. The othe option is to start Alfie at 15 with Shanks and Jamie Robinson. i would also bring Charvis in for Jonathan Thomas to counter act Rocky Elsom. Whatever the side lets all get behind the boys. they have taken some terrible stick over the summer from a welsh public who on occasions expect to much. In fairness to Gareth jenkins he always said the summer was about conditioning, the last 30 minutes showed that all that work wasn't in vain.

Remember it was only June when we nearly beat the Wallabies in their own back yard. On our day we are as good as any side in the world. I agree with other commnets I have read that we looked the best of all the six nations sides over the weekend and we were poor for 50 minutes. So come Alfie get the boys going and we'll all be there shouting you on on Saturday to another famous victory.

  • 7.
  • At 10:00 PM on 10 Sep 2007,
  • Evan wrote:

Hi Ryan,

Hope the rehab is going well and that the TV work is going equally as well (giving Jiffy and Gwyn a run for their money!). Just wanted to get your views on the front row area of the Welsh team. It seems that compared with other nations such as New Zealand, South Africa, France, and Argentina to a certain extent we're lacking somewhat in our general fitness and ability to outmuscle the opposing players. Is it due to the training and conditioning that we have or just a question of technique and abiity? Don't get me wrong, I think the Welsh boys are great players but compared with the likes of Carl Hayman, John Smit, and Sylvain Marconnet, we don't seem to be aggressive enough. An interesting theory came from one of my work colleagues (who is from New Zealand) who said that during training throughout the season they did no contact work at all, and it seemed to save themselves for the game on the Saturday.

Can't wait to see you back in a Welsh shirt, keep up the good blog!

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