02192018

‘It’s a step up, but he’s ready’ – Wales captain Jones defends Patchell

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Six Nations 2018: Alun Wyn Jones reacts to Eddie Jones’ comments about Wales

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says he is not concerned by England coach Eddie Jones’ comments about his behaviour and the “bottle” of fly-half Rhys Patchell.

Eddie Jones complained to World Rugby about the lock confronting referee Pascal Gauzere as Wales beat Scotland.

He also questioned whether Patchell, 24, could cope with the pressure of Twickenham when the teams meet in the Six Nations on Saturday at 16:45 GMT.

“It is a step up, but Patch is ready for that,” said Wales lock Jones.

“People forget that Rhys Patchell has been around the squad for a good few years now. He’d probably like a few more caps as would people who’ve been in amongst it. But he has experience of being around the camp.”

Patchell has made six appearances for Wales but has started only once at fly-half, in the 34-7 win against the Scots.

He has been given his chance in the absence of the injured Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland and is one of seven players in Warren Gatland’s team who have never played an international at Twickenham.

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Rhys Patchell: Wales fly-half one day, U16s coach the next

But Jones joked: “We were been sponsored by a well-known brewery for a long time so there’s plenty of bottle there.”

The three-time British and Irish Lions tourist was also light-hearted when it came to Eddie Jones’ describing his conduct against Scotland as being “out of order”.

The lock approached referee Gauzere after Scotland’s late try to request a video review. Gauzere had already decided to check with the TMO, though the score was awarded.

“I’m very grateful that [Eddie Jones] flagged it up, if someone’s unsure in professional sport, it’s important we get clarity,” said the Welshman.

“My parents have done that [told me I’m out of order] for many years, and I’m married now so it’s just like being at home.”

World Rugby has decided not to take any further action despite the England coach raising the incident.

“Pascal at the time had no issue, and no issue after the game. But we’re very grateful that [Eddie Jones] flagged it up because sometimes you can be over-zealous and potentially appear to go outside the spirit of the game,” Jones told BBC Sport Wales at his team’s Surrey base.

“I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and stay within the spirit of the game.”

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny sat out training on Friday because he was feeling unwell.

The Scarlets player scored 24 points in the win over Scotland, including two tries – his first for Wales in five years and 38 matches.

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