Ryan Jones eyes Wales World Cup spot
Ryan Jones has captained Wales to a Grand Slam and played for the British & Irish Lions but is now desperate to make his debut in a Rugby World Cup.
The Ospreys forward missed out on the 2007 World Cup in France due to injury and wants to make September's trip to New Zealand.
"I would dearly love to be there," insisted Jones, speaking from Wales' second pre-RWC training camp in Poland.
"I know New Zealand is a great place to play rugby."
Wales coach Warren Gatland is due to announce his final 30-strong World Cup squad on 22 August and 30-year-old Jones will be doing his best to break into that despite plenty of competition from the likes of fellow back-rowers Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau.
Jones, who is currently part of a training squad of 35, is helped that he can also play in the second-row as well.
"We have a squad overflowing with good youngsters at the moment they are all good athletes and they have all hit form at the right time for the rugby world cup," said Jones.
"The likes of Toby Faletau and Justin Tipuric are keeping us all looking over our shoulders and I'm looking forward to seeing how they do at international level. I know Toby has his cap already but it seems like there is much more to come from him and I know all about Justin from the Ospreys and they are both exciting players.
"Justin has had a good amount of game-time at the Ospreys and everyone has been impressed with him."
Jones will be helped in his cause for selection that he has experience of playing in New Zealand.
"I've toured there with the Lions and going there with Wales last year was a great experience and going there for the World Cup would have to be the ultimate for any rugby player.
"A World Cup would be a new thing for me and it's something every international rugby player wants to experience.
"It's one of the boxes that I've yet to tick and I'm going to do everything in my power, personally, to try to make sure I'm there. But we have three tough matches first before we go out there."
Wales play England at Twickenham on Saturday, 6 August and face them in the return fixture at the Millennium Stadium just a week later, before taking on Argentina in Cardiff on 20 August.
"The back-to-back clashes with England are quite unique in terms of preparation," said Jones.
"It's almost like a two-Test summer tour or a tournament where you are looking to win the series, but obviously with a home game in there.
"England seem to be hitting form at the right time as well.
"I read recently that Jonny Wilkinson has said the feeling in the England camp is similar to their build up to the World Cup which they won. He said he feels they are getting the balance right, which means they will formidable opposition.
"But if we can keep creating chances like we have been doing and finish them off then we will do well and there can be no better opposition to test us before the World Cup.
"They will be two incredibly physical matches and then we face the Pumas at home in that final game at the Millennium Stadium before travelling to New Zealand.
"They are a team made up of top quality players from all over Europe, a bit like Samoa and Fiji in that respect. And they are always a tough side to crack with a great set piece and a mental toughness.
"If we can get the right results and the right performances this summer then it will stand us in good stead. It's going to be tough, but we wouldn't have it any other way."