Wales can now handle the tag of favourites insists Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones won his 63rd Wales cap against France

Triple Grand Slam winner Ryan Jones believes Wales have shown they can now deal with the tag of favourites.

Along with props Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, Jones is one of only a trio of players to have won three Grand Slams in the last eight seasons.

But Jones claimed there was a different feel to 2012 compared to '05 and '08.

"This was a different campaign to previous ones, this feels like a more constructed Six Nations win," said Jones.

Historically Welsh sides have found it difficult to carry the tag of favourites, and Jones believes that is an area where this season's success differs from the two previous Grand Slams.

That tag came about after Wales finished fourth place in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"We came in arguably as favourites, or at least as strong contenders, and we were able to convert that and sustain some form," insisted Jones, who captained Wales to the 2008 Grand Slam

"We had the rub of the green at times, a few bounces of the ball went our way, but that's sport and we managed to convert those into points and claim the five wins."

Being a three-time Grand Slam winner puts Jones in the esteemed company of 1970's greats Gareth Edwards, JPR Williams and Gerald Davies.

And the 31-year-old admitted he has yet to grasp just what the achievement means as he prepares to return to regional action for the rest of the season.

He said: "It was very special, but it hasn't sunk in yet and I don't think it will for a long, long time yet.

"It's something you can only reflect on in years to come when you have opportunity to do so, so I think it will be a few more years yet."

Having started at blindside flanker in Dublin, Jones was moved to lock against Scotland before being used as a replacement second row, number eight and flanker in the final three games.

The 2005 British and Irish Lions' tourist was particularly impressive after replacing Warburton for the second half of Saturday's gritty 16-9 win over France and was delighted to have made a big contribution.

"It's great to feel you have contributed and feel a part of it and I felt I did that on Saturday," he said

"It means you feel you have the right to be there and share it with the guys."

Wales will now prepare for a three-Test series in Australia in June after a clash with the Barbarians at the Millennium Stadium.

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