Speaking from Hong Kong, Jones, who will start in the number seven shirt, said:
“I think in terms of the profile and the quality of players in both sides, this is one of the biggest games I have ever played in. It’s been a good week preparing for this one and we have really stepped it up in the last few days, even though the heat has made it incredibly tough.”
Jones came on as a replacement at Twickenham last weekend against England, and having only ever played at the ground in a Sevens shirt, he was thrilled with the experience,
“I had felt quite relaxed going into the game. It wasn’t like a normal game at Twickenham because the pressure was probably all on England. We wanted to play an open game in the Barbarians style but we didn’t do the basics well enough and we didn’t put England under enough pressure in defence. It’s difficult because with only a little bit of training under our belts you’ve got guys coming in used to different systems in attack and defence so it is hard to gel, but we didn’t feel we gave a real reflection of our ability as a squad and we want to put that right this weekend. I came on at a good time when the game was opening up and it was nice to get some ball to carry.”
The Barbarians left for Hong Kong immediately after the game at Twickenham and he says there has been a real step up this week.
“We have done a lot more together in training though it is has been really difficult with the conditions and the humidity. We look a bit more comfortable with what we are trying to do and we have had to look after our bodies this week as Saturday will be one tough game.”
Jones is up against an all Welsh back row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Falatau this Saturday – a daunting task but one the 21-year old is relishing.
“With that selection I can predict that the breakdown will be fiercely contested. We are expecting a really physical challenge and it will be a massive game for me against those guys but playing alongside Sergio Parisse and Samu Manoa in the back row will be fantastic – they are both superb players. Sergio in particular has come in this week and had a big input and has shown why he is the best number 8 in the world. He’s been great to work with. The Lions are going to want to put down a marker and it’s going to be a bit surreal playing them. There are guys I really look up to in that team like Paul O’Connell so I am going to go out there and try and enjoy it.”
Alongside Elliot Daly, Jones is one of the youngest players in the Barbarians squad but he says he’s been made to feel right at home.
“Everyone is in the same boat so it’s been really easy to get to know the guys. We’ve had some good team bonding sessions and this week we have been to a few events and visited the markets and the races and so on. We have spent a lot of time together in a short space and we want to go out there and do ourselves justice now.”
Jones also answered some questions put to him by fans on Twitter. Here are a selection
If you could have any one of the Barbarians in the Wasps squad, who would it be and why?
Probably Parisse. He would be a pretty good replacement for Billy!
What’s your favourite position?
I am leaning more towards being a seven given my size and strengths and will probably play there a bit more, but I enjoy playing anywhere across the back row.
Who’s the worst room mate?
In recent memory it would have to be Ashley Johnson because he snores so badly!
Who are you looking forward to playing against most this weekend?
Probably Paul O’Connell because he’s got such a massive presence in the game and he’s a superb leader but I am more looking forward to playing with some of our guys. We have some great players in the Barbarians squad.