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Alun Wyn Jones: Wales captain struggling to understand regional row – BBC Sport

Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 9 March Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary online.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones says he struggles to understand the troubled build-up to Wales’ Six Nations visit to Murrayfield to face Scotland.

A regional rugby row has dominated events following talk of a merger between Ospreys and Scarlets, before it was dismissed by both regions.

Jones says it has been unsettling for players across Wales.

“There are no words I can say about anything that’s happened this week,” the Wales skipper explained.

Former Ospreys captain Jones has been involved in discussions with Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips over the future of the domestic game.

This comes at the same time Wales are chasing a Six Nations and Grand Slam double after winning the first three games against France, Italy and England.

Jones addressed the squad after the meeting and said he had a simple message as he hopes the situation will be resolved after the Six Nations.

“You don’t want to be too profound,” said Jones.

Alun Wyn Jones: ‘Off-field rugby in Wales isn’t the prettiest’

“We’re aware it’s not just about the guys in the national squad, it’s the guys in the regions as well and their staff etc.

“For us it’s not a case of carry on regardless, it’s a case of being sympathetic to the situation. We want a few more answers after the Six Nations, but we’ve got a job to get on with.

“It has been tough. We’ve been a bit splintered this campaign [from regional colleagues], but there has been communication with the senior group and we’ve tried to reassure as much as we can.

“It is difficult when we don’t know the full situation.

“Whatever career you are in, you always have other distractions. Ultimately, we are professional rugby people and we focus on the rugby, that’s the easy bit.

“We are not politicians, so we don’t have to delve too much into that.”

Fortress Murrayfield

Jones says he hopes the off-the-field turmoil can “galvanise” the Wales team against Scotland.

“We’ve got a lot of experienced players in this team and we can’t forget that,” said Jones.

“It’s been nice to be able to have the outlet that is rugby and also have an away game which has been a blessing in the last week.

“We’ve built through the week and we’ve got a game which is the job we face.

“We’re enjoying each other’s company and a big thing for us is being part of a squad that’s operating well but maybe not at its full potential. It’s a special place to be.”

Wales’ last trip to Scotland ended in defeat in 2017 when Rob Howley was in caretaker charge while Gatland prepared to take the British and Irish Lions to New Zealand.

Gatland has won all 10 matches as Wales coach against Scotland.

“They call it fortress Murrayfield don’t they?” said Jones.

“They’re building a massive reputation about how unwelcoming it can be here, but as a player you want to revel in that and that’s what we’ll do.

“We’ve got a bad memory of the last time we were up here. We have got to play the situation and the environment on the day and not get too bogged down by historic events or the future.”

If Wales win against Scotland, it will be a record 62nd victory in a red shirt for Jones, eclipsing the previous record he shares with Gethin Jenkins.

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