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Video: Jones ready for anything against NZ Provincial Barbarians

There will be no underestimating The New Zealand Provincial Barbarians this weekend – indeed Alun Wyn Jones insists The British & Irish Lions will actually be taking inspiration from their opponents on Saturday.

“They get faster because they have an opportunity that they might not get again.”

The 2017 Lions Tour finally gets underway in Whangarei when Warren Gatland’s side take on the Provincial Barbarians in the first of ten matches in six weeks, culminating in a three-Test series with the All Blacks.

The Barbarians – coached by Clayton McMillan and with Gatland’s son Bryn at fly-half – are largely made up of provincial players from across both the North and South Island and have only been in training for a week in preparation for the Tour opener.

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But while Jones might be a veteran of three Lions Tours and over 100 caps for Wales, the second row knows the battle on his side’s hands this weekend.

“It’s not supposed to be easy when you come down here, and it’s not going to be,” he said.

“It’s a case of getting down to it. They (the Barbarians) are an unknown quantity. I have been involved and watched games like this before.

“These players you play against grow two inches, an extra arm and an extra leg and are able to cover a lot more metres, they get faster because they have an opportunity that they might not get again.

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“And I think from our point of view it’s an opportunity we might not get again as well so it’s a feeling we get both ways.”

Jones starts in the second row for the Lions alongside Irishman Iain Henderson in a pack that also includes the likes of Rory Best, Kyle Sinckler and Joe Marler.

And with three Scots in Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour also in the backline – Jones knows the main job is uniting the side from four disparate home nations.

“Gelling together is the focus for us,” he added.

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“We have a good group of lads that are starting to bond really well off the pitch which is massive and a big thing the last two Tours have had in common.

“We haven’t played any rugby yet though, that is going to be the true test to see where we are. We will start learning that on Saturday.

“We are the first group to get out the blocks and we want to make sure we start with a bit of momentum for the rest of Tour.

“Everybody wants to get out the box, it’s been a couple of weeks if not more for a few guys so we need a hit out.”

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