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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 17:02 GMT
Ryan Jones shrugs off criticism
Wales number eight Ryan Jones
Jones has called for a collective effort from Wales
Ospreys, Wales and Lions number eight Ryan Jones insists he is happy with his form ahead of the Italy game.

The 25-year-old has come under fire for perhaps the first time in his career, fans accusing him of anonymous displays in Wales' three defeats to date.

With number eight Alix Popham excelling on the blind-side for Wales, there have been calls to shuffle the existing back row or switch Jones with Colin Charvis.

"I'm happy with my form and the back row blend," Jones told BBC Sport Wales.

SIX NATIONS BLOG
BBC Wales' Dewi Hughes

"It's been difficult for me to carry the ball with the amount of possession we have had.

"People are saying that I was anonymous, but I have been through the tapes and I'm happy with my work rate, I don't think there were many more opportunities were I could have carried the ball.

"It's not about one player and one performance, for us it is about how we develop as a group - we have to get this show on the road as there are not many games left until the World Cup.

"The first quarter is going to be savage. Italy have a big, physical pack and showed huge resolve in Scotland, but I believe we are a better rugby team and rugby nation."

The 14-cap Jones has found support from former Wales and Swansea number eight Stuart Davies.

I think the back-row balance is excellent for Wales

Former Wales number eight Stuart Davies

"I don't think Ryan has had a scrum platform to play off all year, that makes a big difference to a number eight," said Davies.

"On his day he can chew up the yards and he's got a real appetite for that role, but because Wales have been short of possession he hasn't been able to get his running game going in the loose either.

"I think the back-row balance is excellent for Wales, I don't see any problem with it whatsoever."


SEE ALSO
BBC Wales Sport coverage
03 May 05 |  Wales
Castrogiovanni setback for Italy
28 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union on the BBC
13 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union positions guide
05 Feb 07 |  Laws & Equipment
Six Nations team guides
02 Feb 07 |  Rugby Union


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