Alun Wyn Jones feels he is back to his best as he prepares to lock horns with the Springboks
Alun Wyn Jones feels he is getting back to his best as South Africa loom on the horizon.
Wales take on the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday with Jones and lock-partner Bradley Davies set to take on arguably the world's best line-out operators.
The Welsh tight five have basked in the glory of widespread plaudits after their performance against Australia but the Springboks present a higher level of physicality.
And Jones, who locked horns with Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield during the British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa last year, feels he is nearing his best and is relishing the prospect of taking the duo on.
"I'm pleased with my performance but there are a few things that I'd like to work on," said Jones.
"I feel I'm getting back to where I was after the hardest season of my career. My batteries have been recharged and the management at the Ospreys and Wales have ensured I've had a full pre-season and a good break.
"Bakkies and Matfield work well with each other. Bakkies is the grunt and Matfield the brains. They've proved their a good pairing over a long time.
"We know a lot about them and they know about us. I'm not daunted at the prospect of facing Bakkies Botha.
"He has a reputation that precedes him for the right or wrong reasons. Some of the things he has done in his career he probably hasn't meant. But he is the hard man of their team."
The Springboks edged to a 34-31 win over Wales in June and the Ospreys second-row believes it was a game Wales could and should have won.
"We had that game and felt we had done enough to win," said Jones.
"We feel the games we have lost recently have been down to our own errors rather than being completely outclassed."
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.