Wales 23-15 England, Six Nations, February 14
Jones focused on the here and now
February 15, 2009
Jones salutes the Millennium Stadium crowd following his side's victory over England © Getty Images
Wales captain Ryan Jones has revealed the details of the emotional team talk he gave ahead of his side's 23-15 victory over England in their Six Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland acclaimed Jones' words of wisdom as the best he had heard from him, hailing his performance as "really motivational". And Jones admitted he had given his speech detailed consideration before making it.
"I thought about this team talk long and hard," he said. "There is probably no bigger game for us to play for a Welshman than against England at home. I told the boys in the build-up to this game that this was all about us. It is an emotional and personal experience in the build-up, and you can't help than get caught up in the moment of it.
"Something we have talked about is how much this Welsh team has grown up, and there is a certain heart and passion within this side. The individuals who have been within it have had to work hard and really earn it. That is basically what I addressed.
"People have been talking about the future and history, but I think those things take care of themselves. We can only influence the here and now. I told them there was no place for tears on a Sunday morning and there were no second chances.
"Everyone knew in that changing room exactly what they needed to do, and there was a certain composure."
Jones did his Lions captaincy prospects no harm at all, leading from the front as Wales recorded an eighth successive Six Nations triumph, and a third in a row against England. And he was delighted to hear tough taskmaster Gatland's appreciation of his rallying cry.
Jones added: "As far as Warren's comments go, it is great to hear those from the coach. He is obviously quite guarded, and people who know him know he is not forthcoming with his praise, so it is great to hear it from the horse's mouth.
"Warren is a very clever guy, and he does play some mind games with players as well. That is the mark of a coach and an individual style. You can take heart from some praise, but the biggest praise is being picked for the next game.
"I have said it for a long time that I think captaincy is definitely something you grow into and is a role you need experiences to draw from. I have been fortunate enough to have the job for a relatively long period, and it has helped. Anyone who knows me knows that every time I give my best and wear my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes it goes for you, other times it does not."