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Six Nations: Alun Wyn Jones expects ‘bumpy road’ at start of Wales’ Wayne Pivac era

Captain Alun Wyn Jones says there is an exciting mix of players in Wales’ Six Nations squad
Guinness Six Nations
Dates: 1 February-14 March
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Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones expects it will be a “bumpy road” for the Six Nations champions as they embark on a new era under Wayne Pivac.

This will be Pivac’s first campaign since succeeding Warren Gatland, whose 12-year reign was the longest and most successful in Welsh history.

“There’s been a lot of change and, to a point, we have to cut ties with that,” said Jones.

“But if you continue to look over your shoulder, you will slow yourself down.”

The 34-year-old added: “If we are going to evolve, there are a few more things to adapt to, and that is what you want to do.

“It is going to be a bumpy road and we cannot shy away from that.

“I was asked earlier about desire, and why you keep going, and I just remember why I started. I want to play rugby and I want to be involved with Wales.

“It is Wayne’s world now and I am looking forward to what is to come.”

While Wales adjust to life after Gatland, their Six Nations rivals also find themselves in a state of flux.

Four teams have new coaches, while there have also been four changes of captain.

Jones is one of two Six Nations skippers who remain – along with England’s Owen Farrell – and Wales’ record cap holder is the only member of the current squad to have played under a head coach other than Gatland.

Alun Wyn Jones led Wales to the 2019 Six Nations title under former coach Warren Gatland

Evolution not revolution

One of the ways in which Pivac is expected to change Wales is in terms of the team’s playing style.

The four Six Nations titles during Gatland’s tenure – including three Grand Slams – were often based on a pragmatic, physical brand of rugby.

As coach of Scarlets, Pivac was renowned for cultivating a more expansive approach and, while he is eager to develop Wales’ attacking game, the New Zealander suggests the evolution will be gradual.

“Wales won the competition last year playing the way they played. For any team to win this competition you have to play well,” said Pivac.

“We’ve come in and asked the question ‘how can we add value?’ We’re looking at a couple of areas where we think we can do that.

“We’re looking at the attack and evolving that over time. It won’t happen overnight. When we went into the Scarlets it took a few years before we got it to the point where we were comfortable.

“It will take time but it’s something we’re looking to evolve.”

Defending champions Wales are only third favourites for the title according to bookmakers, and Pivac is determined to create his own history.

“We had a quick chat as a squad around defending this trophy,” said Pivac.

“We’re a new management group, we have new players. Yes, there are some players here that have won it, but we want to go out there like any other side and win it this year.

“We’re no different to any other side. We certainly don’t see ourselves as defending it. We’ve got to go out there, win it and play some good rugby along the way.”

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