England travel to the Principality Stadium looking for their second win of the Six Nations campaign but Jones warned the Wales captain would look to target individual players, a tactic the visitors can’t afford to fall foul of.
“He’s played 146 Tests so he knows what he’s doing,” said England’s head coach. “He’s an experienced campaigner and he’s got a good relationship with referees. At times, he’s targeted various players in our team.
“We’ve spoken about him and understand what he’ll be trying to do. It’s about maintaining our composure and control. I think we’re evolving into a more streetwise team.
“The game’s about pressure situations and, while we all like to think we can handle every pressure situation, we don’t. Alun Wyn Jones will be looking for those situations and we’re going to have to deal with them.”
Jones’ view of Wales’ longstanding talisman was echoed by England captain Owen Farrell, who has struggled to fire in two games to date in this Six Nations.
Farrell said the trick was to ensure England players weren’t isolated in tussles against the Welsh skipper in particular.
“It’s off-the-ball-type stuff,” said Farrell of his opposing captain. “We’d hope we’re closer and more tight knit and are able to deal with it as a whole is the most important thing for us – to deal with it as a team rather than an individual. It’s more about us looking after each other as a group.”
England have won three of their last four matches against Wales, victorious 24-13 in the Autumn Nations Cup following on from a nail-biting 33-30 victory at Twickenham in last year’s Six Nations.
Jones described England vs Wales as the sort of game a side needs to win two or three times so tight are the margins, and said that it was up to his players to step up as the pressure mounts.
“Experience is the big thing there,” he said. “Having a mental model in your head about how to handle certain situations. All the research shows if you’d have experience you’re able to sometimes anticipate and react quicker and come up with a solution.
“It’s a make or break game. I think both teams face similar pressure. There’s nothing more exciting than a Wales-England game. They always go down to the wire. It’s the sort of game you’ve got to win not once but two or three times.”
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