Jones wants Welsh belief

Stand in Wales skipper Ryan Jones says Saturday's defeat to Ireland will have no effect on this week's clash with France. [more]

Jones wants Welsh belief

Stand in Wales skipper Ryan Jones says Saturday’s defeat to Ireland will have no effect on this week’s clash with France.

Jones and co travel to Paris on the back of a frustrating first outing in Cardiff in which they fell behind 30-3 before fighting back to within eight points of the Irish.

The veteran Ospreys back rower missed the Millennium Stadium encounter with a thumb problem but returns to captain his country for a record 30th time after Sam Warburton failed to recover from a stinger injury to his shoulder.

Jones is joined in the starting line up by hooker Richard Hibbard and fellow flanker Justin Tipuric as interim head coach Rob Howley makes three changes for the trip to Paris.

And the 2005 Test Lion will be telling his team-mates to forget all about the first match of the tournament and to focus on what’s ahead as Wales look to end a run of eight straight defeats.

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“Confidence is something that should never be doubted when you come into this environment,” said Jones.

“You’re here, you’re picked on merit and you’re here to do a job.

“We've picked the bones out of last weekend. One thing we try to instil in the guys is that you’ve got to focus on the next match. What happened last week has absolutely no bearing on what will happen in two day’s time. We’ve got to focus solely on that now and make sure we start well.

“Something we have tried to instil this week is to look forward to it, be bold and have a real good crack. We will try not to wait until half time this week.

“It's about maintaining that belief, keeping our composure and a cool head and making sure we play the way we train.”

Jones will start on the blindside flank in place of Aaron Shingler, who drops to the bench, but most of the focus so far has been on the man wearing the No7 shirt this weekend.

Warburton was tipped as a likely Lions leader after Wales’ Grand Slam success last season but critics had been calling for Tipuric to replace him in the starting line up at the Stade de France even before injury struck this week.

Jones knows Tipuric well from regional rugby and is a big fan of what the Ospreys openside can offer.

“Tips is a wonderful individual,” added Jones.

“He has got a skillset that is slightly different to most. I genuinely believe he could play almost anywhere on the field.

"He is slightly different to the other sevens we've got, and have had, and he deserves his chance. We saw Andrew Coombs come in last week and do a great job. The ball is firmly in Tips' court.

"Hopefully, by complementing him and allowing him to do his thing, we can let him excel at this level.”

Ospreys wing Eli Walker, Harlequins lock Olly Kohn and Scarlets scrum-half Tavis Knoyle were all unavailable for selection due to injury, with Kohn being replaced on the bench by Blues lock Lou Reed.

Howley has also released James King, Ryan Bevington, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Scott Andrews and Andries Pretorius back to their regions for this weekend’s return to PRO12 action.

Wales (v France, Stade de France, Saturday, 5pm)

Leigh Halfpenny; Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, George North, Dan Biggar, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Andrew Coombs, Ian Evans, Ryan Jones (captain), Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau

Replacements: Ken Owens, Paul James, Craig Mitchell, Lou Reed, Aaron Shingler, Lloyd Williams, James Hook, Scott Williams

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