Wayne Pivac backs Alun Wyn Jones to lead Wales into his fifth World Cup in 2023… but admits it will be a ‘massive challenge’ with the captain set to turn 38 ahead of the tournament in France
- Wayne Pivac has backed Alun Wyn Jones to lead Wales into the 2023 World Cup
- The Wales captain will be aged 38 when the tournament takes place in France
- Pivac admitted it will be a massive challenge but believes Jones can stay fit
Alun Wyn Jones has been challenged by coach Wayne Pivac to lead Wales into his fifth World Cup when aged 38 in 2023.
The Welsh boss said that Jones alone will decide whether he will make the tournament in France, where they have drawn familiar opponents.
Once again – in a replica of the 2015 and 2019 pools – Wales are grouped with Australia and Fiji, with Georgia likely to be added later along with the lowest-ranked qualifier.
Alun Wyn Jones has been challenged to lead Wales into the 2023 World Cup at the age of 38
Wales boss Wayne Pivac said Jones is up to the ‘massive challenge’ of making the tournament
And Pivac has backed his current captain to be there for those Pool C matches.
‘It will be a massive challenge for Alun Wyn to make 2023, but if there is any player that can do it, then Alun Wyn is that guy,’ said the head coach.
‘He looks after himself and prepares so well. He knows the landscape very well and knows what it takes to get into that shape.
‘He’ll be the one to decide that in terms of where his body and mind is at. He loves those sorts of challenges.’
Jones is currently injured, having hurt his knee against Italy, and will be out for ‘weeks’ over the festive period, but hopes to be ready for the 2021 Six Nations.
Jones is injured after hurting his knee against Italy and will be out over the festive period
‘We’re certainly looking forward to rolling our sleeves up and going into the Six Nations which will come up very quickly,’ said Pivac who won three of 10 Tests in charge this year having succeeded Warren Gatland.
‘There is a lot of work to be done, but building depth is really important for us looking ahead to 2023 and hopefully we’ll be playing our best rugby at that stage.’ If Wales – who went into the draw as top seeds despite a terrible year, as World Rugby froze the rankings from the 2019 World Cup – manage to escape the group they might face England in the quarter-finals.
‘We don’t want to get carried away and we’ve got four big pool matches to play,’ added Pivac.
‘If we were to get through and have that sort of a fixture (England) then obviously the excitement would go through the roof in Wales.’