ADAM Jones insists there is “no panic” despite Wales’ slide from the halcyon days of last March’s Grand Slam to a miserable run of seven successive defeats.
The 31-year-old is adamant they can bounce back for the Six Nations and put their recent woes behind them.
Jones, out with a knee injury, was badly missed during Wales’ autumn whitewash after defeats to Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia. The Ospreys tighthead prop believes they were unlucky to lose to the Wallabies in the painful last-minute 14-12 setback in Cardiff last month as well as June’s 3-0 series defeat Down Under.
And for Jones, who featured in the Grand Slams of 2005, 2008 and 2012, it is just good to be back on the international stage.
“There’s always a bit of a buzz around the place and it’s nice to come back in,” the 2009 Lions star said.
“There’s a bit more of a buzz because it’s the Six Nations and the whole country gets up for it.”
Speaking about Wales’ calamitous autumn and coming back from Australia empty handed, Jones added: “The mood is all right. No one is panicking.
“In parts we played well and had we played a bit more sensibly, and had the bounce of the ball, we would have done a bit better, especially with the four games against Australia.
“But it’s history now and we’re looking forward to getting back on the field.”
Jones, who has won 83 caps, admitted Wales have never managed to kick on in the next season from the three Grand Slam triumphs he has been involved in.
“When we’ve been champions, we’ve never really backed it up,” he said.
“We’ve done it three times and we want to push on as a team. It’s something we want to put right but there are five very good other teams out there, so it’s not cut and dried.”
On Ireland, who Wales meet first up at the Millennium Stadium on February 2, Jones said: “Ireland are a good side and their regions always do well – Ulster are on a bit of a roll and Leinster are packed full of Lions.
“Their provinces are fantastic and have always done well in Europe, but then they have been criticised for not backing it up on the international stage.
“But when you have the likes of Jamie Heaslip and Brian O’Driscoll – who would get in most teams – they will always be hard to play against.”