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."
The Welsh Rugby Union is forming a new Youth Board with a brief to help keep more young people involved in the game during their late teenage years and beyond. The first task of the fifteen strong Board will be to analyse and consider the issues which lead to a number of youngsters drifting away from the sport between the ages of 16 and 21. To apply visit www.wru.wales/youthboard
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Eighty schools and colleges in Wales now have a full time rugby officer as part of the WRU's school club hub scheme. All of the school club hub officers recently gathered at the National Centre of Excellence for various workshops.
With Liam Williams forced out of the World Cup through injury, lock Luke Charteris and Skills Coach Neil Jenkins say they have to put yesterday's defeat behind them as Wales now look ahead to another physical encounter against South Africa in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.
WRU Consultant Head of Physical Performance Paul Stridgeon praises the Physical Performance department for their work and dedication as he addresses the media ahead of Wales' Pool A clash against Australia
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The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.