sport

Jones expects 'revved up' Irish

Wales front-row warrior Adam Jones says he is "under no illusions" about how fired-up Ireland will be in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash.

The fierce rivals' latest meeting has its trademark back-drop of there being a huge amount at stake.

Although it is only the second weekend of this season's tournament, Saturday's victors could take some stopping after establishing strong title momentum.

Ospreys prop Jones has won 90 caps and featured in eight previous Six Nations games against Ireland, but he will struggle to remember one with more hype surrounding it than this weekend.

Many Ireland supporters still bristle at memories of star player Brian O'Driscoll being controversially overlooked for last summer's Test series decider between the British and Irish Lions and Australia that the Lions won 41-16.

It was a decision made by Lions boss and current Wales coach Warren Gatland, and one that saw him fiercely-criticised by Irish fans, former Ireland players and media pundits.

"I am under no illusions how fired up they will be," Jones said.

"They've talked down the O'Driscoll-Gatland thing, but I'm quietly confident 'Paulie' (Ireland captain Paul O'Connell) will have them revved up come half-past-two on Saturday. We know what to expect."

Jones, though, has no doubt it is a healthy rivalry that exists between players on both teams.

"Since we've been on tours with them (Irish players), you get to know them. There's no dislike there, but we want to beat them, obviously," he added.

"For the last couple of years we've been the best two teams among the Celts. The Irish boys are very similar to us, they're good guys.

"I am sure it will be very physical, come Saturday, but I will look forward to having a pint with them afterwards.

"That is what's so good about this sport. You can knock seven bells out of each other, then shake the guy's hand and have a pint with him afterwards. There will be no hard feelings."

Jones' individual battle with in-form Ireland prop Cian Healy promises to be a key encounter on Saturday, and the 32-year-old is looking forward to renewing acquaintances after they both toured with the 2013 Lions, although Healy's trip was cut short by injury.

"I never knew the guy (beforehand), but we shared a room in Hong Kong," Jones said. "He is a really good bloke.

"I've never seen someone drink so much coffee in my life, absolutely phenomenal!

"I was sad to see him get injured. We've seen how good he is. He's come back stronger and he's probably one of the best, if not the best, loosehead in the world at the moment. I will look forward to playing against him."

Jones, meanwhile, could take the field in the unfamilar garb, at least for him, of a scrum-cap.

He is sporting a cut on his forehead that required stitches, the result of a training ground accident after he tackled fellow prop Samson Lee and then caught his head on lock Alun-Wyn Jones' knee.

"I haven't got the best head for a helmet," Jones added. "I can see better, though, as it keeps the hair out of my eyes. I'll just have to suck it and see."