Irish ambition spurring Felix Jones

by Gazette Reporter
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FELIX Jones is hopeful he can work his way into the Irish selection to play England next week in the wake of captaining the Irish Wolfhounds a fortnight ago.

Since then, the Seapoint man came off the bench in the 6 Nations opener against Italy while he was also on the replacements list for last Saturday’s slug-fest with France in the Aviva Stadium.

But he knows that breaking into a back division that features Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and Simon Zebo – not to mention Luke Fitzgerald and Dave Kearney waiting in the wings – that he can take nothing for granted.

“I want to play as much as I can and rack up as many minutes as I can for Ireland,” he told GazetteSport. “Whether that is starting or coming in from the bench. In the November series, it was good to get on at an important stages of the games [against South Africa and Australia].”

And it is something he wants to experience more of, especially after his well-documented injury issues, something which, he says, means he “takes nothing for granted” now that he has had a sustained run.

It led to captaining the Wolfhounds side against the English Saxons, a welcome by-product for the work he puts in.

“Getting to captain the country; it is a massive honour. It has happened to me there and with Munster on a couple of occasions this season.

“I didn’t really think about this happening but it has just fallen into place. You don’t go hunting for the captaincy but you do it to the best of your ability and treat it with the respect it deserves.”

And, with the World Cup on the horizon, he is hoping he can continue to knock on Joe Schmidt’s door and earn a place at that tournament.

He missed out in awful fashion in 2011, sustaining an ankle injury after being selected in the panel. It is something that spurs him on hugely.

“What happened with the last World Cup, it makes me hungry to get there this time around. I am well aware that if you can say ‘I want to go there’ but you don’t have a plan in place. Then it becomes a wish.

“I’m very much process driven and those processes have been happening over the last couple of months. Currently, it is at a crucial stage with the 6 Nations because there are very few internationals in the summer.

“You are relying then on performances at club level so we focus on each game and each training leading up to them.

“Deep down, you may think about the World Cup in the back of your head but you need to keep focussed on the here and now.”

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