Wales v Ireland: Josh Navidi right man to lead Wales - Ryan Jones

Josh Navidi
Cardiff Blues back-row forward Josh Navidi has made 16 appearances for Wales
World Cup warm-up: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday 31 August Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, on the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Josh Navidi will be a worthy captain if picked to lead Wales in the World Cup warm-up against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday, says ex-skipper Ryan Jones.

Coach Warren Gatland is expected to make wholesale changes from the 13-6 win over England, with captain Alun Wyn Jones set to be rested.

"He's (Navidi) the right man to do it if he is chosen," said Jones.

"What we've seen over the past two or three years is the emergence of a guy who leads on and off the field."

Jones, who led Wales 33 times under Gatland, believes Cardiff Blues flanker Navidi is "hugely respected among the group".

Jones added: "He'll probably lead from the front like Alun Wyn Jones... and I think with his experience as well it lends itself to do it."

Ryan Jones made 75 appearances for Wales, including the Six Nations Grand Slam campaigns in 2005, 2008 and 2012. He was appointed Welsh Rugby Union performance director in January.

He said Wales face a major challenge against Ireland in Gatland's last home game in charge of Wales, especially after Joe Schmidt's team were hammered 57-15 by England.

"It's going to be hell of a game this weekend - they're smarting," Jones added.

"It's a big opportunity for some of those Wales players who are probably in that question mark bracket for the World Cup.

"Knowing Gats the way we do, there's probably one or two players he hasn't quite made his mind up about yet and he'll certainly be using that as a carrot this week.

"Ireland will want to go into the Rugby World Cup with a couple of wins under their belt, and the clever play here is we're combating it with a group of guys including some who are playing for World Cup opportunities, very much as we saw England do in the first warm-up against Wales.

"It has the ingredients for a real fierce Test match and I just hope everybody comes through unscathed."

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones talking at a Pro14 final launch in Cardiff
Former Wales captain Ryan Jones talking at a Pro14 final launch in Cardiff

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