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Wales prop Adam Jones ready for front-row battle

RBS SIX NATIONS - ENGLAND v WALES
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 6 February Kick-off: 1700 GMT
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ONE, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online, full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website

Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins
Wales' all Lions front row have a combined total of 162 Welsh caps

Adam Jones insists Wales' British and Irish Lions front row face a battle in their Six Nations opener, despite England's inexperience up front.

Injured English star Phil Vickery hails Wales' all-star front row as the "best front row in the competition, if not the best front row in world rugby."

Jones joked ahead of Saturday's game: "I think Vics is trying to wind you up.

"Everyone has written them off as a front row but we know that is not true, we know how good they actually are."

Wasps loose-head prop Tim Payne retains his place, while Bath's David Wilson returns at tight-head and Northampton Saints hooker Dylan Hartley completes England's front row.

The English trio have only 33 caps between them as experienced pair Vickery and fellow prop Lions prop Andrew Sheridan are sidelined with neck and shoulder injuries respectively.

Jones recalls when England had 'aura'

Wales' front row is expected to have a combined total of 162 internationals caps as Jones is set to return for his first international since last summer's Lions tour to world champions South Africa after shoulder surgery.

The Ospreys tight-head will join experienced loose-head Gethin Jenkins and Llanelli Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees as the trio are reunited for the first time since taming the fearsome Springboks pack during the second Test in Pretoria.

Vickery replaced Jones at tight-head for the third Test in Johannesburg as Welshman Jones suffered a shoulder injury in Pretoria after being taken out by Bakkies Botha.

Vickery, who toured with the Welsh trio on the 2009 Lions tour, said Wales' platform are among the world's finest.

He stated: "Gethin has an engine and a heart the size of a double-decker bus.

"Matthew's throwing in and his scrummaging are strong and he will work all day long for you. Adam will just keep going. I don't really see anyone better."

Jones replied: "It's nice of him to say that, we did well in summer and hopefully we will repeat that on Saturday."

Wales' forward coach Robin McBryde hopes the front row can provide the platform for his nation to complete back-to-back wins at Twickenham for the first time in 22 years.

"They've got a lot to live up to," he quipped.

"They made a name for themselves as a unit and if they take advantage of that, the better it will be for us.

Adam Jones, Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins
They have a willingness to roll up their sleeves and not rest on their laurels

Wales forward coach Robin McBryde

"They have a willingness to roll up their sleeves and not rest on their laurels.

"And as good as they were last summer, everyone is keen to see what they can do and how effective they how can be once again."

The English may have a relatively unknown international front row but Jones warned: "They have picked a big old pack.

"England have lost a lot of experience in Sheridan and Vickery but I think you're underestimated their front row they are putting out because they are not bad."

Wales are bidding to beat their greatest rivals for the fifth time in six games after the English lost only once in 14 games between 1993 and 2005.

"When I was first coming through, England would be much better than us, much bigger than us and they had the likes of Johnson and Dallaglio when there was an aura surrounding them.

"But now we know we can compete with them because we play against them at European and EDF Energy Cup so hopefully come Saturday we'll be all right."



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see also
Byrne in clear for England game
02 Feb 10 |  Rugby Union
Tait earns recall to England side
02 Feb 10 |  English
Guscott questions Welsh mentality
01 Feb 10 |  Welsh
Wales leave out Phillips and Peel
19 Jan 10 |  Welsh
Battered Lions lose injured props
28 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales 23-15 England
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
England 19-26 Wales
02 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 27-18 England
17 Mar 07 |  Rugby Union
England 47-13 Wales
04 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Wales 11-9 England
05 Feb 05 |  Internationals


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