Deposed skipper Ryan Jones tipped to bounce back from Fiji nightmare

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones has been backed to make a full recovery from what he described as "the worst 20 minutes" of his rugby career.

Jones is battling to make Wales' matchday 22 for their Millennium Stadium clash with New Zealand on Saturday. He skippered Wales in last week's shambolic 16-16 draw against Fiji, but conceded an injury time penalty that Seremaia Bai kicked to tie the game and was then told hooker Matthew Rees would return as captain this weekend.

Wales coach Warren Gatland made his leadership decision public within an hour of the final whistle, sparking a chorus of media criticism that 45 times-capped Jones had been made a scapegoat after an appalling team performance.

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Lock Alun-Wyn Jones - a current Wales and Ospreys team-mate of his namesake - knows what is like to be on the receiving end. England scored a match-defining 17 points during Jones' time in the sin-bin at Twickenham last season after he was yellow-carded for a reckless trip on home hooker Dylan Hartley.

Immediately following the Six Nations Test, Gatland blasted Jones for a "totally stupid" act, and claimed it had cost Wales the game. England won 30-17. "If you took my season as a whole last year, what with my injury (fractured elbow], with me not finishing my 70-metre interception run against New Zealand, and my trip to 'Trip-enham,' then looking back it wasn't a great season," said Alun-Wyn. "But moving forward, it was probably the season that matured me the most. Ryan is a man of great resolve. He will take every criticism he's got, look at it in detail and turn it into a positive and work at his game. He's done it before and he will do it again."

The ease with which New Zealand have claimed the three wins that has set up Saturday's potential Grand Slam clincher in Cardiff has led some to suggest that a successful sweep is not the cause for celebration it once was.

But winger Joe Rokocoko says he and his team-mates are fully tested whenever they visit these shores. "It is never easy," said the 27-year-old. "It's always a challenge to claim a Grand Slam and we like these challenges. We are not diminishing it, it's just about us as a group setting out to achieve the goals we set, and we look to improve year by year.

"It is hard being an All Blacks team when you come on these trips because, every week, teams will come out and play their hearts out, and we expect lots of passion from the Welsh this weekend."