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Jones Determined To Build On Successful November Run

Jones Determined To Build On Successful November Run

A bad run of injuries have certainly curtailed Felix Jones’ opportunities at international level, from the ankle ligament injury that dashed his 2011 Rugby World Cup hopes through to ankle and shoulder injuries in more recent years.

A bruised knee kept Felix Jones out of Munster’s 65-10 thrashing of Sale Sharks in the European Champions Cup last weekend, but he is back to full training with the extended Ireland squad at Carton House this week.

Jones comes into 2015 on the back of a very good spell of form with Munster, including a few appearances as the province’s stand-in captain. He also chalked up his first two Ireland tries against Georgia during November’s GUINNESS Series.

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Coping with and talking about injuries has become an unwelcome habit for the Dubliner who is determined to stay fit and available for Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations title defence and with the Rugby World Cup looming large on the horizon.

“Obviously, I want to accumulate as many caps as possible. The reality of things is that if you take an injury and you’re out for eight months, then five months here and six months there, it really stutters your career,” explained Jones.

“I’m not trying to make excuses – this is just what’s happened in my career. You put those things behind you and try to get back to that level as soon as possible. Look. it’s something that I don’t think a huge amount about. That’s just the reality of it.”

Jones has had a promising run of Ireland appearances under Joe Schmidt, starting the first Test win over Argentina last June and playing in all three of the 2014 GUINNESS Series games against South Africa, Georgia and Australia.

His fourth start for his country, and eighth cap since August 2011, saw him display his scoring threat from full-back as he ran in an eye-catching brace in the 49-7 triumph over the Georgians.

The 27-year-old is now targeting his long-awaited RBS 6 Nations debut in the coming weeks, having won his nine previous caps in either World Cup warm-up games, summer Tests or November internationals.

First up, though, is the Ireland Wolfhounds’ showdown with England Saxons at Irish Independent Park on Friday and the Munster full-back has fond memories of starting last year’s 14-8 victory for the Wolfhounds at Kingsholm.

“The Wolfhounds presents an opportunity for guys coming back from injury, your first time into the squad at this level or guys trying to get into the senior team. There’s a number of guys that could be playing for the Wolfhounds this weekend, guys with many international caps and guys who played in November, so it’s a strong squad.”

With reference to his two cameos against the Springboks and Wallabies in November, Jones added: “Whatever amount of game-time you get, you’ve got to make it count and to come on in two very tight games when it’s still in the balance, up to the last minute, to be able to slot in and do your job is how you can take confidence from it.

“Obviously, I was very disappointed not to start, as every player wants to start. No one’s going to come in here and say they are happy to sit on the bench.

“Having said that, you’ll never say you are disappointed being involved, or playing, with Ireland. As I’ve said, to get the chance and be able to slot in and do your job is the main thing.”