Wales prop Tomas Francis believes his compatriot Wyn Jones has set the standard in the front row in the opening two matches of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations.
Scarlets star Jones has been a rock for the unbeaten Welsh side so far in this year’s Championship, having secured the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match award for his dominant performance up front in the 21-16 victory over Ireland in Round 1.
He backed that display up with a vital try in his side’s 25-24 come-from-behind victory over Scotland last time out, to keep hopes of a Grand Slam victory alive.
And Exeter Chiefs prop Francis is confident that if Jones continues to set the bar high with his dominance in the scrum, his teammates will continue to flourish throughout the Championship.
“If the rest of us can keep up with him we will have a good rest of the tournament,” said Francis.
“He is a world-class loose-head prop. He has put some big shifts in at the minute.
“I have always liked scrummaging with him. I feel as if he is the cornerstone of our set-piece at the minute. His carrying game has come on.
“He is not losing the set-piece dominance he has always had. The aspects he has added to his game is fantastic.”
Wales will welcome Eddie Jones’ England to Principality Stadium in ten days’ time, with the hosts looking to secure the Triple Crown after early victories over Ireland and Scotland.
The reigning Guinness Six Nations Champions recovered from Round 1 defeat to Scotland at Twickenham with a resounding 41-18 success over Italy last time out, with Anthony Watson helping himself to two tries in the bonus-point win and will be looking to build on that when they make the trip to the Welsh capital.
Last year’s encounter between the two sides was nothing short of a classic, with both sides scoring three tries apiece in a 33-30 victory for England at Twickenham, in one of the matches of the Championship.
And although Francis didn’t play in that match in London, the prop knows full well that his side will have to be on top of their game to keep the Red Rose at bay in Cardiff, as they look to build on their back-to-back victories.
“We can train and build as a squad and rip into each other a bit and hopefully be in a much better place come England,” Francis said.
“We are at home for the last time in the tournament and we want to go out there and put on the best show we can.
“The more time we spend together, the more time we are learning the patterns the better we will be.
“The pack is not quite gelling but we are still scoring points and got a bonus-point win against Scotland.
“There is a lot of work to be done and I think we can make big improvements.”