Adam Jones: Warren Gatland says Wales door 'not closed' for prop

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Wales coach Warren Gatland drops Adam Jones and James Hook

Wales coach Warren Gatland says "the door is not closed" on Adam Jones after leaving the 95-times capped prop out of his 34-man squad for the autumn series.

But Gatland added he has asked the 33-year-old Cardiff Blues tight-head to work on aspects of his game.

Wales play Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa in November.

"The door is not closed and it's important that he continues to keep working on his game, and we've had that conversation with him," said Gatland.

"The game never stays still and I think that with the way that the scrummaging rules changed put a lot of pressure on tight-heads and probably dropped their value by half overnight.

"What's become paramount in the game is the ability of front rows to become more mobile and to get around the park and we've had that conversation with Adam.

Wales' autumn Tests
Saturday, 8 November: v Australia (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 15 November: v Fiji (14:30 BST)
Saturday, 22 November: v New Zealand (17:30 BST)
Saturday, 29 November: v South Africa (14:30 BST)
All games to be played at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

"He's working on it and continuing to work on it and we're still looking for more involvement from him around the pitch, potentially a greater anticipation.

"And we've got some young players who we want to continue to work with as well."

Jones was substituted after 30 minutes of Wales' 38-16 defeat by South Africa in the first Test last June, and was not included in the match-day 23 for the second Test, which saw Wales give a much-improved display before losing 31-30.

His place went to Scarlets tight-head Samson Lee, who is again named in the squad for the autumn Tests.

Jones joined the Blues during the summer of 2014 following a long drawn-out parting with Ospreys - the region with which he had spent the previous decade.

While the British and Irish Lions prop was a high-profile omission from Gatland's autumn squad, 20-year-old Ospreys tight-head Nicky Smith is included after making an impressive start to the new season.

On Smith, Gatland said: "He's playing every week and he's playing well.

Getty
Adam Jones (second left) was a key member of the Lions team that beat Australia 2-1 in the 2013 Test series

"I think he's aware that he's a work in progress. He knows he's not the finished product at the moment so it is a great opportunity to come into our environment and for us to have a look at him at that next level."

With a year to go before the 2015 Rugby World Cup, Gatland is treating the autumn series as part of his team's preparations for meeting England, Australia and Fiji in the group stages.

"The analogy we're drawing with the players is we're selling the World Cup as their Olympics," he said.

"I don't see any point in winning every game in the autumn and every game in the Six Nations and not qualifying out of our group in the World Cup.

"That's the paramount and most important thing.

"I'm not saying the autumn internationals aren't important or the Six Nations isn't important, but our focus is to qualify in 2015 and get out of our group."

And Gatland did not rule out calling on the experience of Adam Jones should the need arise.

"We know what Adam Jones is capable of giving us, and I'm sure that if there's an injury or if we need to look at bringing someone like Adam's experience back then we're able to do that," he said.

WALES SQUAD

Forwards:

Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Bath Rugby), Nicky Smith (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Gloucester Rugby), Emyr Phillips (Scarlets), Scott Baldwin (Ospreys), Aaron Jarvis (Ospreys), Samson Lee (Scarlets), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jake Ball (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Wasps), Luke Charteris (Racing Metro), Dan Lydiate (Racing Metro), James King (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Dan Baker (Ospreys), Taulupe Faletau (Dragons).

Backs:

Mike Phillips (Racing Metro), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Rhodri Williams (Scarlets), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Cory Allen (Cardiff Blues), James Roberts (Racing Metro), Jonathan Davies (ASM Clermont Auvergne), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Hallam Amos (Dragons), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), George North (Northampton Saints), Tom Prydie (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Toulon), Liam Williams (Scarlets).

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