PROP Wyn Jones did Carmarthenshire proud when he picked up the Man of the Match award for Wales in their hard-fought 21-16 triumph over Ireland in their Guinness Six Nations opener.

The 28-year-old Scarlets loose-head, who hails from Llandovery, was equally valuable in attack and defence, with 10 carries gaining 44 metres, whilst being successful with all nine of his tackles.

In the scrums, Jones held his own against powerhouse Dubliner Andrew Porter, and he worked tirelessly around the field, missing nothing in defence, and making some purposeful charges.

George North and Louis Rees-Zammit scored the tries, with Leigh Halfpenny’s boot contributing 11 points, but Jones was identified as the key man after a performance full of industry and skill.

“It was a nail-biting last few minutes for us, but it’s nice to get over the line and get the tournament going with a good win,” said Jones, who recently made his 100th appearance in Scarlets colours.

“We knew we had to win the match, it is key in any tournament to start with a bang and get that momentum going - so it was important for us to come back home and win, we are so happy.”

Having come through the Llandovery RFC junior system, Jones had a spell on dual registration at Ammanford, before making his mark for his home town club in the Welsh Premiership.

Jones made his Scarlets debut in 2014, and was a member of the successful Scarlets squad that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title four years ago - and has since gone on to win 31 caps for Wales.

Against Ireland, Wales played the majority of the game with a one-man advantage following Peter O’Mahony’s early red card for a dangerous clear-out on Jones’ fellow prop Tomas Francis.

The visitors rallied, coming from 6-0 down to lead 13-6 at half-time, but Wales’ numerical superiority told after the restart to ensure Ireland remain without a Championship win in Cardiff since 2013.

Jones said: “Sometimes you have to play against a team with 14 men and they front up, we were on top until that moment and then we eased off a little, to be honest, but we’re happy to win.”

Meanwhile Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones hailed his team for their work ethic over the 80 minutes, especially in defence, saying that they could take plenty of heart from the character shown.

“We showed character, especially in that middle third and in the latter stages of the game, and it was a tight finish in the end, but we managed to come through,” he said after the game.

“We probably defended for longer periods than we would have liked, and elements of that came off the back of the red card as we didn’t want to give them too many opportunities.

“There were a couple of penalties that we gave away, they put them in the ascendancy, but I’m proud of the boys for their application, especially in defence.”