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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 13:55 GMT
Hansen defends prop switch
Wales prop Adam Jones
Hansen says prop Adam Jones must work on his fitness
Wales coach Steve Hansen has defended his tactic of substituting prop Adam Jones early following the RBS Six Nations loss in Ireland.

Wales looked less secure in the scrum after converted tight-head prop Gethin Jenkins replaced Jones 10 minutes before half-time.

"We are trying to get Gethin scrummaging better and improve Adam's fitness," Hansen said.

"Adam knows he's got to work on his fitness and he's doing just that."

Hansen is unlikely to change his approach as he prepares for the home clash against France on Sunday 7 March.

"The bottom line is we haven't got a lot of tightheads that do the job scrummage-wise," said Hansen, who has been helping Jenkins' switch from loose head.

"Adam is doing a great job for us in that respect. If you then pair him up with Gethin, who has all the other things, then you look at them as a package.

I haven't lost any confidence or belief in the forwards after what happened in Dublin
Wales coach Steve Hansen

"It's a long-term process, not a short-term one. You can't just snap your fingers and have it happen.

"I think people have over-reacted. Most of those who have spoken about it have been uninformed and made uninformed comments.

"Adam is working extremely hard, he can't do any more than he is. He is doing everything that is asked of him so I don't think he should be too worried about it.

"He will make his big gains in the summer training camp."

The Welsh pack's desire and strength was questioned following the 36-15 defeat at Lansdowne Road, after Ireland's eight scored two tries from rolling mauls and bossed the breakdown.

"I haven't lost any confidence or belief in the forwards after what happened in Dublin," Hansen added.

"I understand it for what it is. It is just part of the process of the team growing. Gaining hardness is part of that growing up process.

"We've got a young pack that is only going to get better.

"Along the way we are going to have days against the big boys where we are not as good as we would like to be.

"I know we will go in there against France and be very competitive."

That will be helped by the return of Colin Charvis to the back row, after the captain missed the trip to Dublin with a dislocated index finger.



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