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Six Nations, Sport

Six Nations: Stephen Jones closes in on 100 cap mark for Wales

Wales, Stephen Jones, Italy, Six Nations, RBS 6 Nations, rugby, rugby union

Stephen Jones will make his 98th appearance for Wales against Italy

Stephen Jones will move to within two caps of a Test century on Saturday – and he has no intention of winding down his 13-year international career.

The Scarlets fly-half will play at no.10 against Italy as James Hook moves into midfield to cover for Jonathan Davies who is out injured.

Jones said: “There is plenty to drive me on. I enjoy things as much as ever, and I still have goals in my head and what I want to achieve.

“I am fortunate that I come in and work in an environment that I love, which is as good as it gets.”

Jones, 33, made his debut against South Africa in 1998 and has gone on to be a key part of two Six Nations title and Grand Slam-winning campaigns. He’s also made six Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions.

When Jones runs out in Rome this weekend, moving level with flanker Martyn Williams’ 98 caps, only Gareth Thomas – the solitary Wales player to clock up 100 Tests – will be above him.

And Thomas’ record is likely to fall later this year, given that Wales have three World Cup warm-up fixtures in August before heading to New Zealand and a minimum four more matches.

Jones added: “I am conscious of the record because people keep reminding me.

“But you have to keep focused on each game because I know if I don’t perform this could be my 98th cap, but also my last.

“So I don’t try to look too far ahead. The physicality of the international game is tougher than it has ever been, which means you take nothing for granted.

“But I have been very fortunate with my career. I have enjoyed things and worked with some great people.”

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