Wales head coach Wayne Pivac plays down absence of ‘leader’ Alun Wyn Jones

Alun Wyn Jones (PA Archive)
Alun Wyn Jones (PA Archive)

Wayne Pivac has played down the absence of world record cap-holder Alun Wyn Jones from Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series clash with Argentina.

The 37-year-old lock and former Wales skipper has not been included by head coach Pivac in the matchday 23.

Given that Jones is fully fit, it is a rare event for him to miss out during a stellar 16-year career that has delivered 154 Wales caps and 12 British and Irish Lions Test match appearances.

Ben Carter will provide bench cover for starting locks Will Rowlands and Adam Beard as Pivac continues assessing his options ahead of next year’s World Cup.

Asked how Jones had reacted, Pivac said: “He has been exceptional, he has trained the house down, which is what you want.

“He is a leader, and the leadership group has been running the opposition (in training) and running it very, very well.

“We had a lot of live stuff in training today and on Tuesday, and he was at the forefront of it putting pressure on the boys, which is exactly what we need.

“We are preparing for a very good Argentina side who are going to be very physical, so we needed that, and Al has delivered it very, very well.

“He still very much understands the importance of every role. Al was very good in the contact (against New Zealand last weekend).

“From our point of view, we know everything we need to know about Al, and it is an opportunity to get some more experience for a guy like Ben Carter.

From our point of view, we know everything we need to know about Al

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac

“It is all-round form and what the guys are doing in training and what they can deliver.

“When we get to the World Cup, we have got to make sure we have got the best four second-rows and the ability to start if we have an injury.”

Wales take on Argentina just seven days after losing 55-23 to New Zealand, which saw them fail to build on an impressive Test series in South Africa this summer.

Pivac added: “For South Africa, we had a month with the players and they were operating at the levels we operate at international level and they were ready to go.

“When you get them for two weeks, after what they’ve come off, it is very hard.

“You will probably see in another couple of weeks’ time, which is a month together, that we will probably be playing better rugby I would expect at the back end of this competition, rather than the start.

“That is just the reality of what it is, and we have to make sure, leading into the Ireland game in the Six Nations that somehow we’ve got to get these players in better condition.”