Wales are miles behind England - ex-Wales captain Gwyn Jones

Gwyn Jones
Gwyn Jones was Wales captain when a spinal injury ended his career in 1997
Autumn Nations Cup: Group A - Wales v England
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli Date: Saturday, 28 November Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen to commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 5 Live (second half only); watch on S4C and follow live text on the BBC Sport website and app.

Wales are "miles behind" England as the teams prepare to meet in the Autumn Nations Cup in Llanelli on Saturday, says former captain Gwyn Jones.

Under coach Wayne Pivac, Wales have won twice and lost six games, while in the same period England won the 2020 Six Nations and lost only once.

Jones said of the Group A match: "I would take competitive now. I think if we were able to put them under pressure or score a couple of tries, make them work hard for the win, I think we'd be more than happy with that."

The former Llanelli and Cardiff flanker said Pivac should follow predecessor Warren Gatland's example and pick unfancied players to suit his game-plan.

"Coaches have to be able to take players from regional rugby and take their strengths and attributes and apply them to their game-plan," Jones told Scrum V.

"And the obvious examples with Gatland was moving Jamie Roberts into midfield or picking Dan Lydiate as part of the back-row for the chop tackle; players who perhaps weren't necessarily at the forefront of your thought to play regional rugby, but certainly when it came to the Welsh shirt, they fitted the system and they worked brilliantly.

Autumn Nations Cup pool a
The winner of Pool A plays the winner of Pool B on 5 or 6 December to determine the Autumn Nations Cup champions

"Pivac has got to do that with his style. Now they're not probably going to be the same players - they're going to be different players who can take his game-plan onto the field and execute.

"Who are the players he feels can make a difference against England? He hasn't answered that question yet. He's obviously hoping to do that."

Jones said Pivac and his assistants must ensure Wales' fundamentals are addressed on Saturday and named prop Wyn Jones, hooker Elliot Dee, lock Jake Ball and back-rower Aaron Wainwright as players he believes should face England.

"I think he's [Pivac] got to concentrate on basics at scrum and line-out because England are going to come at us very strongly there," he said.

While centre Jonathan Daves and flanker Justin Tipuric are in danger of missing the England game because of injury, Jones said they are not the type of players whose absences would have the most detrimental impact on Wales' efforts.

"Those are wonderful players, any team would be stronger to have them, but they are not necessarily gain-line players and that's where we are really struggling at the moment."

Jones highlighted injured hooker Ken Owens and centre Hadleigh Parkes - now in Japan - as examples of the style of player Wales need.

He said: "The players we are really missing, I suspect, are Ken Owens, who is injured and - more than perhaps we thought - somebody like Hadleigh Parkes, who was probably far more effective at gain-line presence than we gave him the credit for and that gives you a fulcrum on which to attack and we just haven't got that presence in midfield."

Beating England would be seen as a shock, not to Wales - Neil Jenkins

After watching Wales' attack struggle to regularly break through Georgia's defence in their 18-0 win on Saturday, Jones fears England will comfortably see off the hosts' threats.

He said: "We set the table well against Georgia. A few times we had a good structure across the field, but because we weren't able to penetrate or put their defence under pressure, they easily dealt with lots of our attacks and if Georgia can manage that on our phase play, you just wonder what England and their defence will do.

"We hope that the spirit and the calon (heart) will make it a tough game for them, but the reality is that the standard of the performances between us and them has been miles apart so far.

"You'd hope that the spirit and the rivalry would give us some motivation to make it close and tight and make it an emotional game where you feel we'd be a bit more competitive, but the reality of what we've seen so far is we are miles behind."

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