Six Nations 2014: Row should not distract history bid - Ryan Jones

Wales' Ryan Jones
Wales' Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones says the uncertainty over the Welsh regions' future should not overshadow Wales' bid to become the first country to win three successive Six Nations.

Jones says the team are focused on retaining their title.

But preparations are taking place against the threat of a split between the Welsh regions and the WRU.

"Sadly what is going on is detracting from everything that is good about Welsh rugby," said Jones.

"The fact we are possibly on the verge of making history could get lost in everything else that is going on.

"We have a group of players, management and support staff who are solely focused on one outcome.

"What goes on in a boardroom in Cardiff really can have no effect - the only thing we can do is do our best on the field.

"We can only try to do our bit, at club or international level, to keep it in the limelight for the right reasons and on track to be great again."

No country has won the Six Nations title three consecutive times, with England (2000 and 2001) and France (2006 and 2007) both having won the title twice on the trot.

Jones, who has captained Wales a record 33 times, led the side in three of their games in the 2013 tournament when Sam Warburton was sidelined with injury.

Wales clinched the title in 2013 with a resounding 30-3 victory over England in the final game of the tournament in Cardiff.

Coach Warren Gatland, who led the British and Irish Lions to a Test series victory over Australia in the summer, has selected a 32-strong squad for the 2013-2014 campaign.

Gatland's victorious Lions side in the 41-61 victory over the Wallabies in Sydney, included 10 Welshman in his starting line-up.

Jones, 32, says there is "no reason" why Wales cannot make it three in a row, but also believes England and Ireland are capable of winning the title.

"I think it is going to be incredibly tough. England, Ireland and us have to be genuine contenders," he said.

"France, and we say this every year, we don't know which side is going to turn up.

"Scotland, I think, are improving and Italy are always capable of throwing in an upset.

"So, your guess is as good as mine, but I would like to say we will be top two."

Wales kick off their defence with a game against Italy at home on 1 February, but Jones believes they will have to overcome injuries and the fallout of the 2013 Lions tour.

"England away is going to be a tough, tough encounter [on 9 March] and they will be smarting after last year," he said.

"But there is some rugby to be played before then and I think injuries could play an issue this year for us.

"We are starting the campaign with question marks over a few who have played little rugby so far.

"Historically, we have not done too well in the Six Nations post a Lions tour."

Jones, who has won 75 Wales caps, admits he was like a "big kid" when he received the text that he had made the squad.

"I genuinely love playing for Wales and its a magical tournament and it's a great place and environment to be around," said Jones.

"I would desperately love to win another Six Nations and to make some history.

"I could sit by the fire when I retire and tell a few stories and have a few beers over it."