Jones must avoid being Carted

Wales flyhalf Stephen Jones will have to call on all his experience if he is to nullify Dan Carter in Cardiff on Saturday.

The 29-year-old returns from a knee injury sustained against Australia three weeks ago and will duel with the world’s premier flyhalf at the Millennium Stadium.

He was full of praise for Carter but was adamant that he was not daunted by the prospect of lining up opposite the Crusaders man.

“It’s great to play against Dan Carter again. He’s got a great kicking game and great distribution,” Jones, capped 57 times for the Dragons, told BBC Sport.

“He’s deceptively very strong as well. It’s a good personal challenge for me and I’m looking forward to it.”

Jones and Carter have met thrice in their careers with their last encounter ending in a 41-3 victory for the All Blacks. Carter excelled on the day, scoring 26 points and will be looking to inflict Wales with their first defeat of the year-end series of Tests.

Meanwhile Carter sounded a implicit warning to his opponents.

“I think I definitely can get better. I am not overly pleased with the way I am playing at the moment,” said Carter, who welcomed Jones’ return to fitness.

“There is room for improvement. A lot of players look at their weaknesses and try to build those up, but you also have to keep trying to raise the bar with your strengths.

“I work hard to try and improve those things. Opposition are always trying to catch you out so you have to work on things.”

Jones acknowledged the All Blacks superiority but said that intensive analysis of the Tri-Nations champions meant they were thoroughly prepared for the challenge.

“Yes, they are the best team in the world but we believe they have weaknesses,” said Jones. We want to play a style of rugby that will hopefully exploit those weaknesses. We’ve got self-belief in our squad and we’re looking forward to the challenge.

“They’ve picked their first XV against us and that shows the respect they have for us.”