Six Nations: Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones praises 'gracious' Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton
Sam Warburton was Wales captain between 2011 and 2016

New Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones praised former skipper Sam Warburton for the way he reacted after relinquishing his previous role.

Jones, 31, has been chosen by interim head coach Rob Howley to succeed Warburton ahead of the Six Nations.

28-year-old Warburton, who stepped down after six years and 49 matches in charge, congratulated Jones.

"Sam has been very gracious in the way things have happened," Jones told BBC Wales Sport.

Jones outlined what he wants from his Welsh team ahead of their opening game against Italy in Rome on 5 February.

"In a way the captaincy is just a label, but I'm ready and able to make decisions as captain when needed," said Jones.

"I don't want followers: followers are for Twitter.

"Also, if I'm not playing well hopefully I'll still be available to be deselected.

"If that wasn't the case I wouldn't have accepted the captaincy."

Becoming Wales captain

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Six Nations 2017: New Wales captain Jones says England the team to beat

Jones has led Wales on five occasions before and captained the British and Irish Lions to the third Test series victory over Australia in 2013.

The Ospreys lock revealed becoming permanent Wales captain was not something he sought as a young boy.

"It was not an aspiration to be captain," Jones told BBC Wales Sport.

"When you talked about dreams you wanted as a kid I did want to play for Wales.

"I don't remember too vividly because you had school work to focus on and sometimes grandparents would think that is more important.

"My dream was to play for Wales and I have been very fortunate where I am.

"To represent a pretty special country that is passionate about rugby was definitely in my thoughts."

Six Nations ambitions

Wales national rugby union team
Wales beat England in Cardiff to win the 2013 Six Nations

Wales have not won the Six Nations since Howley was last in caretaker charge in 2013.

Despite winning three of their four matches last autumn, Wales were criticised for their style of play and Jones admitted it was something they were determined to address.

"There are a lot of people with points to prove," said Jones, who has won 105 Wales caps.

"I would like to think we have a squad with a point to prove.

"It is far more dangerous and pleasing to have hungry guys who are vying for a jersey to represent your country.

"We have been scrutinised in the past for not closing games out but we had three from four [wins] in the autumn."

Wales v Australia
Wales lost 32-8 to Australia in Cardiff in November of 2016

Wales defeated Argentina, Japan and South Africa in November after losing the opening match against Australia convincingly.

Jones said: "Were the performances complete? No. But did we get the results, do we want to play better and are we changing and evolving? Yes.

"If we get to a point where we have tried to do this and it's not working, we will open the floodgates and deserve the criticism.

"Saying that, we are always going to get criticism with the expectation we have in the country we are in.

"But there are a group of guys who are trying to play the rugby the country deserves."

Bonus points

Six Nations bosses have introduced bonus points for the first time and Jones believes they could have an effect at the end of the tournament.

"Having the bonus points system is going to have a whole new shift, not in the approach teams want to play, but probably towards the back end of the competition," Jones added.

"With two games to go you are going to know what you need to do.

"It will be interesting to see how it goes.

"It's the format for European rugby that has been elevated to an international spectacle which will hopefully add to the excitement."

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