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Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Wales' Adam Jones declares himself fit to face France

Adam Jones
Jones has played only 23 minutes rugby in the last two months

Wales prop Adam Jones has declared himself fit to play against France on Saturday claiming he weighs less now than during the autumn internationals.

Coach Warren Gatland has been concerned about Jones' fitness and weight after seven weeks out with an elbow injury.

But Jones believes Gatland is winding him up and it is not a serious concern.

"I have come back with less weight than the autumn if that's anything to go by [and] I played four games of 80 minutes in the autumn," insisted Jones.

"I think that's him [Gatland] trying to wind me up a bit as well. [He's] trying to play mind games with me.

"I think he is [trying to wind me up] otherwise he would kick me out."

Jones has only played 23 minutes rugby in the last two months - as an Ospreys replacement in their 37-6 Magners League win against Glasgow on 5 March - since needing surgery on his right elbow, an injury picked up against London Irish in January.

But the 30-year-old says he has almost no ill effects from the problem.

"It's all pretty much sorted now. I'm not sure it's 100%, it would be about 95% so it's not too bad," said the British & Irish Lions tight-head.

"Yes [I'm fit to play] if selected, [and] hopefully I'll get picked.

"I obviously want to play. I'm not one of these guys who gets so hyped up and so: 'I need to play, I need to play!'

France will obviously try to target us out there, but I think the boys are all very experienced and we have got quite a big pack now

Adam Jones

"But if I get the chance to play Saturday it will be an honour to win my 69th cap."

Jones, however, does concede it will be difficult having played only quarter of rugby in nearly two months.

"It's going to be hard - match fitness is a totally different from doing laps [in training].

"But I've played long enough now to realise how hard it's going to be.

"When I initially found out it would be two months out I was a bit gutted, but you have just got to take it and get on with it and use it as positively as you can, I suppose

"I think the first month I was feeling sorry for myself and then realised [I was] a bit closer back to action than I thought and I thought I's better pull my finger out and get back to where I need to be."

From the sidelines Jones has been impressed with Wales' Six Nations campaign.

After the initial 26-19 home defeat to England they have managed successive wins against Scotland, Italy and Ireland.

That has given Wales an outside chance of the championship if they beat France well and unbeaten England go down heavily in Ireland.

"[Wales' campaign] has been very good. A lot is said about once you win a game and I think you build the confidence.

"Defence has been outstanding, set piece has been good. I think that maybe we haven't attacked quite as well as we would want to but there are a lot of different factors in that.

Craig Mitchell
Craig Mitchell has impressed Adam Jones during the Six Nations

"They have been really good I think and it seems everyone is pretty confident going into Saturday even though it is in Paris.

"Everyone is upbeat - a bit different from the autumn. Onwards and upwards."

While Jones has been injured his Ospreys team-mate Craig Mitchell has held his own at tighthead.

And Jones paid tribute to Mitchell's performances until he was ruled out of the France game and the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder against Ireland.

"I think he has been outstanding," said Jones. "I've always thought he is an excellent player, to be fair.

"I'm happy to be here, but I didn't want to benefit from his injury. He has held his end up and proved to be quite a good asset."

And on France and the possibility of packing down against French loose-head Thomas Domingo, Jones said: "The reaction [to the Italy defeat] was a bit crazy. Kind of a French thing to do.

"But... I'm sure they will use that as motivation, and it's going to be a hell of a Test match Saturday.

"It's going to be physical, fast and a great atmosphere.

"[Domingo] is good. [Sylvain] Marconnet has been around for years. To be fair Domingo started most of the games at the beginning of the season and last year but [he's] a very good player, good scrummager - as wide as he is tall which makes it a bit awkward.

"France will obviously try to target us out there, but I think the boys are all very experienced and we have got quite a big pack now."



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