Alun Wyn Jones, the Wales lock, has dismissed the suggestion that his team-mates can use fatigue as an excuse for a disappointing campaign in the RBS 6 Nations.
Jones was one of a host of Welsh players who also performed for the British and Irish Lions last summer and they have seemed lethargic during the current campaign.
Warren Gatland's side slipped to a 29-18 defeat by England last Sunday, a result which ended any lingering hopes Wales had of claiming a third straight Six Nations title. Instead France are on course to maintain their record of winning the title in every year directly following a Lions tour. They face Ireland this weekend in the last match of the competition.
Loading article content
Wales, meanwhile, will wind down their campaign at home to Scotland. The Welsh might be keen to put an end to this Six Nations but Jones was adamant yesterday that it was not due to his side feeling tired.
"I do not know if fatigue is an issue after a long year," said the 28-year-old. "It was always going to be a big load this season, but there are potentially bigger things to worry about. You cannot expect teams to be up for a final every Saturday. But you have to in the Six Nations and that is the difficulty we have."
The match with Scotland on Saturday is an opportunity for the home side to restore some pride after the defeat at Twickenham, with Jones expecting a stubborn challenge from Scottish locks Richie Gray and Jim Hamilton.
"Two losses at this stage is not what we were looking for," said Jones. "We are lucky we have another game coming up quickly. You can take nothing away from England and credit to them; they starved us of ball but when we did have it 50% of our turnovers were unforced errors and we put pressure on ourselves.
"Scotland took a lot of stick in the first two rounds, but they are gaining in confidence and it will be a tough ask. Richie Gray's omission earlier raised a few eyebrows, but he was outstanding against France. Both he and Jim Hamilton are probably the tallest second-row pairing in the championship."