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Jones keen to bounce back

Wales assistant coach Mark Jones has described the reigning RBS 6 Nations champions as a "wounded animal".

Wales' hopes of retaining the Six Nations title were diminished by last weekend's 30-22 home defeat against Ireland.

If they lose to Les Bleus at Stade de France then all realistic hopes of silverware will disappear, given that Ireland or England - who meet in Dublin on Sunday - will be four points above them with three games left.

Wales have only suffered two defeats at the start of a Six Nations campaign on three previous occasions, and each season they failed to secure a top-four finish.

"A lot has been made this week of France losing to Italy (last Sunday) as the worst possible result for us," said attack specialist Jones.

"I would like to think the worst result was us, the defending champions of the Six Nations, losing at home to Ireland.

"When we get our game right, we are very formidable. We are the wounded animal this weekend and are looking to really kick on from our second-half performance against Ireland."

Wales 'won' that second 40 minutes at the Millennium Stadium 19-7, with wing Alex Cuthbert, full-back Leigh Halfpenny and substitute prop Craig Mitchell scoring tries, but Ireland had already inflicted too much damage.

"There is huge disappointment and frustration that we didn't start the game as we finished it," Jones added.

"Ireland started well, but there was just too much error in our game. The players were very clear about how we wanted to start. I think the issue we had was in terms of accuracy holding on to the ball.

"If you don't hold on to it you can't put defences under any sustained pressure and, therefore, you don't create the intensity you want. The players have accepted that and fully understand why.

"One thing is for sure, if you want to play a looser game you have to win the collisions. There are no two ways about it. You have to have go-forward ball, the depth and time to make those decisions.

"You saw some great skill levels at times in terms of creating opportunities, and you also saw the very basic errors of not executing two on ones.

"We are working on it constantly, but it's not an easy fix. It's a matter of time, really."

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley is due to announce his team for Paris on Thursday, with prop Paul James, hooker Richard Hibbard and flanker Justin Tipuric among those widely tipped for starts.

If openside specialist Tipuric makes it, then skipper Sam Warburton seems set for either the blindside role or a place on the bench.

Given the scintillating impact Tipuric made after he replaced an injured Aaron Shingler midway through the Irish game, it would be a major shock if Howley leaves him out.

"Player selection is down to form and injury. Ours, for the first game, was predominantly around who we had available," Jones said.

"In top-level sport there's not much in it. It's about getting the last two or three per cent right on the day and, if you do that, more often than not you will come out on the winning side.

"Results are not great (Wales have lost eight successive Tests), but I don't think we are far away.

"I know it's a cliche, but all we can focus on is the next game. That has been the strength of this group the last three or four years and, more often than not, we have been successful.

"Do we give the players an opportunity to go out and redeem themselves or do we try and freshen things up and bring some fresh blood in?

"Those are the type of things coaches have got to make decisions on. They are not easy ones, to be honest with you.

"My experience of France is they are a fantastic rugby team and they have got the potential to play very badly and win well. That's how good they can be.

"They play a great brand of rugby generally. But it's a good game for us. It will focus the mind, how good France can be, and it will make sure we prepare well."