'No cakes or candles' for Warren Gatland's final Six Nations, says Alun Wyn Jones

Alun Wyn Jones and Warren Gatland laughing
Alun Wyn Jones has captained the British and Irish Lions and Wales under Warren Gatland
Six Nations: France v Wales
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Friday, 1 February Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary

Alun Wyn Jones says there will be no emotion from Warren Gatland in his final Six Nations in charge of Wales.

Gatland took charge for the 2008 tournament and is preparing for his 10th campaign having spent two seasons with the British and Irish Lions.

The New Zealander will step down after the World Cup in Japan next November.

"I have seen a lot of romantic things written and said about Gats today, but there will be no cakes and candles in our camp," said Wales captain Jones.

"We want to win the Six Nations and the biggest compliment you can pay Warren is you want to play for your coach."

Jones is the only survivor from the side that defeated England in Gatland's first game in charge in February 2008 and went on to win a Grand Slam.

"He's never been overly affectionate nor overly sentimental," said Jones.

"The one thing with Gats is he gets on with the squad well and has made a conscious effort over the past two years to do that.

"We always respond when he puts the pressure on, whether it's to the press or to us behind closed doors.

Wales players celebrate beating England in Warren Gatland's first match in charge
Wales celebrate beating England in Twickenham in warren Gatland's first match in charge in 2008

"Change is very easy, but the one thing Gats has done is only change when we needed to, not because people said we needed to.

"He's been pretty unwavering and we've had a couple of good runs off that back of it."

Wales have won their last nine games and open the 2019 Six Nations campaign against France in Paris on 1 February.

"We are a team which gets better the longer we are together and we will get healthier as a squad too," added Jones.

"We'd like to be part of the big decisions at the end of the tournament and hopefully that will be the case.

"The boys were champing at the bit coming out of 2018, which will stand us in good stead for the bedrock of World Cup year, which is the Six Nations."

Jones is a one of the only fully-fit Wales second-rows with concerns over Adam Beard (concussion/neck), Jake Ball (shoulder) and Cory Hill (shoulder).

Cardiff Blues second-row Seb Davies is in the squad while his regional team-mate Josh Turnbull has also played at lock.

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny is out of the opening two games with concussion problems and scrum-half Gareth Davies (quad) and centre Scott Williams (ankle) are major doubts.

Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland chat
Eddie Jones and Warren Gatland, rivals sharing information about the game

Dining with the 'enemy'

Gatland remains upbeat and even had time to have dinner with England coach Eddie Jones ahead of the official Six Nations launch which, he joked, the WRU paid for.

"We spoke about everything," said Gatland.

"There is a bit of banter and stuff but we all understand the pressures of the job.

"There seems to be a good relationship with the coaches and I have been here the longest. There is no animosity.

"What is good you are always talking about the way the game is changing and it is important you share that information.

"If you look back at the autumn it was great for the northern hemisphere teams and the best campaign collectively we have had.

"We feel as if the gap with the southern hemisphere has closed and sets up the rest of the year."

Wales fixtures

Ireland favourites

Winning the Six Nations remains a priority for Gatland after Wales triumphs in 2008, 2012 and 2013.

"It is as competitive as I can remember and that's brilliant for the tournament," said Gatland.

"The conversations used to be about just England and France because they were the only two teams going to win it.

"Now you are talking about five teams who can win it while Italy are still a work-in progress. That is brilliant."

Gatland conceded Ireland remain the favourites after winning the 2018 Grand Slam and defeating world champions New Zealand.

"There is a lot of talk in Ireland at the moment about them being potential World Cup favourites and even going on and winning the tournament," said Gatland.

"The more you guys keep talking about other teams, the better for us. We will just keep trucking on."

Pick your Wales XV to face France

Pick your Wales team to play France in the Six Nations on 1 February

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