Alun Wyn Jones: No excuses from Wales players following France defeat

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says the players will not use the excuse of rustiness after losing 38-21 to France in Paris.

It was a first international in more than seven months with Wayne Pivac highlighting the issue after the game and ahead of hosting Scotland next Saturday in the Six Nations.

“There are no excuses of rust from a player point of view,” said Jones.

“We are into a competitive match of a Six Nations game next week.

“We have a short time to put that right which will be our focus.”

Jones would not comment on the first-half incident which looked like he was struck in the face by France lock Bernard Le Roux.

Wales coach Wayne Pivac says it will be up to the citing commissioner to decide whether any action is taken.

“I have no doubt that the officials in charge will have a look at it if they think there is something in it,” said Pivac.

The Wales coach outlined where he thought the game went awry.

“There were a lot of aerial battles and we weren’t good enough in the air on the night,” said Pivac.

“We gave too much ball back to the French in open play. There were also three turnovers at critical times for us.

“We have to be a lot better next week. I think there were 12 in total, so it’s something we’ll go away and look at. We’ll make sure we hold onto possession next week.

“This game was hugely important for all sides because we’ve had seven months without international rugby.

“That’s a long period of time for anyone and you saw out there that a lot of our players had had a lack of big matches.

“Hopefully we’ll be a lot better for that.”

Wayne Pivac congratulates Louis Rees-Zammit on his first cap
Wayne Pivac congratulates Louis Rees-Zammit on his first cap

British and Irish Lions full-back Liam Williams, regarded as an aerial specialist, played 69 minutes for Scarlets in the 10-3 win in Benetton on Friday, his first action for almost eight months.

“We’ll review Liam’s performance and at the same time we’ll review our own performance,” added Pivac.

“We’ll check on the bumps from the guys before making a selection call in the middle of next week.”

Wales and Scotland will battle it out for fourth place in the delayed Six Nations finale at Parc y Scarlets next Saturday.

Scotland warmed up for the game with an emphatic 48-7 win over Georgia on Friday night.

“Scotland were very good against Georgia,” said Pivac.

“Hopefully we’ll put a lot more pressure on Scotland than Georgia did but we’ll be looking at our own game.

“We’ll be making sure we improve across the board. Scotland will be a tough opponent and we’ll have to play a lot better to get a result.”

There was some good news to emerge with Ospreys hooker Sam Parry and Gloucester teenage wing Louis Rees-Zammit making debuts off the replacements bench.

On the night he equalled Richie McCaw’s world record of 148 international appearances, captain Jones presented Rees-Zammit with his first cap while Wales defensive technical advisor Gethin Jenkins handed the honour to Parry.

“We’re pleased to get those two out there to experience the Test match arena,” said Pivac.

“They’ve had a good couple of weeks and are delighted to have been involved in the matchday 23 and get onto the park. They’re disappointed with the result, like everyone is.

“Sam had a good chunk of game time and was heavily involved. Louis, for a young man, now has a taste of the Test arena. They’ll both be better for those performances.”

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