Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Itoje puts Jones friendship on hold for Wales clash



Itoje puts Jones friendship on hold for Wales clash

Itoje puts Jones friendship on hold for Wales clash

Former British and Irish Lions room-mates Maro Itoje and Alun Wyn Jones will become fierce opponents when England face Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday, at 11:45pm Cambodian time.

Both teams head into the second-round fixture on the back of convincing wins last weekend, with the battle between powerhouse forwards Itoje and Jones one of several intriguing duels in this Anglo-Welsh clash.

The duo struck up a friendship during the Lions’ tour of New Zealand last year, where a combined side coached by Wales boss Warren Gatland defied the predictions of many pundits to hold the world champion All Blacks to a 1-1 draw in a three-match series.

Off the field they have since engaged in a series of jokey exchanges, with England rising star Itoje pointing out that Jones is becoming increasingly bald, while the Wales great has ‘complained’ about the refusal of the Saracens second row to share his cocoa butter.

“We got on very well during the Lions tour, although his musical tastes are very different to mine,” Itoje said Wednesday.

“He let his hair down. I’m fortunate enough to have quite long, free-flowing hair. He’s severely balding, but I think he’s come to terms with that now.”

As for Jones’s cocoa butter moan, Itoje replied: “First of all he didn’t ask and secondly he doesn’t use it. He’ll be all right.”

Itoje is still at the start of his Test career, with 18 caps compared to the 123 won by veteran lock Jones.

“Alun’s very professional, trains hard and is diligent with his preparation,” Itoje said. “Obviously going on tour you spend time with the other home nations and you pick up things.

“Alun has a good work rate and works very hard. He’s a nice guy as well. I got on very well with him on tour. It was a good experience.”

However, Itoje added: “But that isn’t even in the slightest bit difficult for me. It’s a completely different setting, different team, different environment.

“There will be a lot of passion. It will be intense. It will be physical. It is a great game to be a part of and I’m sure Twickenham will be rocking.”

Tuesday saw Gatland name the same Wales starting XV that impressed in a 34-7 thrashing of Scotland in Cardiff last weekend, with the only change coming on the bench as fit-again wing George North replaced Owen Watkin.

England boss Eddie Jones is due to reveal his side today and only one change to the matchday 23 that overpowered Italy 46-15 is expected.

Richard Wigglesworth is set to provide bench cover for scrum-half Danny Care after England’s first-choice No 9 Ben Youngs suffered a tournament-ending knee injury at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment