Jones, who won 95 Wales caps and five for the Lions, knows exactly what it takes to win in south-west London. After all he is one of three players, along with Mike Phillips and Alun Wyn Jones, who started both of Wales’s Championship victories at Twickenham, in 2008 and 2012.
In 2008 they recovered from 16-6 down at half-time to win 26-16, while in 2012, a late Scott Williams try allowed Wales to return home with a 19-12 victory.
Against Scotland in Cardiff in Round 1, Wales went 27-0 down but recovered to come within two points of winning. They may have lost 27-26, but their confidence was renewed after playing a more open style after half-time.
“The first half was a bit ropey, but we came back into it and that was good to see,” Jones told us. “I thought we looked a bit shell-shocked but the way we came back into it was pretty good.
“When we tied to play structure, we didn’t kick very well to them, but when we played a bit of rugby we went really well and that is a massive confidence boost for the boys, scoring four tries. It showed their ambition and the boys’ character and their willingness to fight for each other.
“We know they’ll have to ride out a bit of a storm. They are going to come at us, and the crowd are going to get behind them and when you get through that, you realise that while they may be good players, they are just like the rest of us.
“Any English pack, you have to match them up front. They are tough side. They know it is a big game for them. They are in the transition phase like us, but it’s not daunting there anymore.
“If they can handle the pressure and not give them a big lead and a start, then we are right in the game.”
Gatland Makes His Mark
The match in 2008 was Warren Gatland first as Wales head coach after a disastrous 2007 World Cup. Wales failed to get out of their group, which resulted in coach Gareth Jenkins being sacked. England went in as favourites having unexpectedly reached the France 2007 final, where they lost to South Africa.
Gatland arrived with a strong reputation though. As Wasps coach, he had led the Londoners to three Premiership titles and a European Cup.
Before taking the Welsh job, Gatland had worked with Welsh side The Ospreys, and his familiarity with them was reflected when Jones was one of 13 Ospreys players selected for the match. Blues’ flanker Martyn Williams and Scarlets wing Mark Jones completed the team.
“In 2008 we needed our confidence building,” Jones said. “We came from that World Cup after losing to Fiji and it was a pretty low ebb for Welsh rugby. What Gats and Shaun, and the other guys were good at was building up the confidence.
“The sessions were short and sharp and there was a real intensity there and massive fitness sessions. It was a simple game plan. Line speed in defence, get round the corner. We didn’t start too well, but we slowly built into the game and our fitness showed at the end when we scored those two tries.”
Wales’s callowness showed at half-time when they trailed 16-6, but James Hook’s kicking kept them in touch, before late tries from Lee Byrne and Phillips ended Wales’s 20-year-wait for victory at English rugby headquarters.
They followed the win by beating Scotland, Italy, and Ireland before they secured their second Six Nations Grand Slam with a 29-12 defeat of France in front of a raucous Cardiff crowd, 168 days after crashing out of France 2007.
Williams And The Late Late, Show
By 2012 Wales were the favourites after a young team featuring captain Sam Warburton, and other tyros Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies, and George North, had played some memorable rugby and reached the 2011 World Cup semi-finals.
England in contrast had lost to France in the quarter-finals, were led by interim coach Stuart Lancaster, and had a side their side contained seven players making their Twickenham test debuts.
Their form was similar as both had won their opening two matches, England against Scotland, and Italy, while Wales had defeated Ireland and Scotland.
“In 2012 we came in as favourites,” Jones said. “We had a good World Cup and we lost to France in the semi-finals. We were full of confidence and there was no fear anymore.
“We were full of confidence we could do a job on them. The confidence as a squad was totally chalk and cheese as a squad between 2008 and 2012.”
It was nip and tuck for much of the match after Owen Farrell and Leigh Halfpenny exchanged four penalties apiece to leave the score tied at 12-12 with five minutes to go.
Then reserve centre Scott Williams ripped the ball from England’s Courtney Lawes, kicked ahead into space and beat Tom Croft to dive home for the winning try, converted by Priestland.
There were a few nervous moments at the end when England winger David Strettle appeared to score a late try in the corner, but the Television Match Official (TMO) ruled it out, and Wales were three steps on the way to another Grand Slam.
“We had one of the best fullbacks in the world in that position in Halfers (Halfpenny),” Jones said. “He has an unbelievable work rate. He said he held him up and it was a bit nerve wracking, but the TMO said it was no try.
“We got the Triple Crown and it’s always nice to beat England. We had the upper hand in those days and going to Twickenham wasn’t such a big deal for us.”
Jones knows Twickenham well. Since he joined Harlequins in 2015, first as a player and then as scrum coach, he has been involved several matches across the road from Quins’ Stoop home.
Emotions will be running high as it is the first Six Nations match between England and Wales since legends JPR Williams, Phil Bennett and Barry John, three players who thrived in such encounters, died.
“When I first went there it was a bit open and a bit windy, but now it is an unbelievable stadium,” Jones said.
“We go there a couple of times a season with Quins, and it is our second home. It is not overly intimidating like Pretoria or Johannesburg, but it is a great theatre for rugby and only going to raise the Welsh boys to where they need to be.”
England v Wales kicks off this Saturday at 16:45, live on ITV and S4C.