Lion keeps Ospreys captaincy

Ryan Jones has been retained as Ospreys captain for the coming season. [more]

Lion keeps Ospreys captaincy

Ryan Jones has been retained as Ospreys captain for the coming season.

One of the stars of the 2005 Lions tour, Jones has led the much-fancied Welsh region since taking over from Duncan Jones in 2007 but speculation had been growing that he would be relieved of his duties this term.

Ospreys coach Sean Holley had admitted earlier in the week that he and new director of coaching Scott Johnson were undecided as to who would skipper the side this year after a trophlyess campaign in 2008/09.

Holley stated that the region were aware of the possible burdens on Jones if he was to continue his dual captaincy role with Wales as well as the Ospreys. But the Magners League outfit have kept faith with the 28-year-old who was chosen ahead of the likes of former All Blacks Marty Holah and Jerry Collins and a host of 2009 Lions who play their rugby at the Liberty Stadium.

"We’ve taken our time over the appointment as it is a crucial one that we had to get right,” said Holley when announcing the decision.

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”With it being Scott Johnson’s first pre-season at the Ospreys, and Ryan and the Lions players not returning to training until August, it was important that we took the chance to look at the dynamics within the group to make the right decision. There was also the concern that we have had about Ryan’s workload being overburdened, and he has fully involved in our discussions all along so he has been well aware of what our line of thinking was and why, fully understands the situation, and has been able to address any concerns.

"Now that he has been confirmed as captain for the new season, Ryan can’t wait to get started, and as we all know, he is 100 percent committed to the Ospreys and will, no doubt, continue to prove to be a positive influence.”

Having led his country to Grand Slam success in 2008, Jones endured a disappointing season with both club and country last time out. His struggle to find form saw him miss out on the summer’s Lions tour of South Africa four years after playing an impressive role as a replacement with Britain and Ireland’s elite in New Zealand.

Jones was eventually called up to the 2009 Lions tour party following injury to Stephen Ferris but left South Africa without playing a game after traveling with an injury of his own. But despite the disappointment of not featuring for the Lions in the Republic, Jones is now looking ahead to what he hopes will be a far more fruitful 2009/10 season.

“I realise that over the last few weeks the coaching team have been looking at the situation and assessing how the playing squad works together, and I’m proud that they have shown faith in my abilities to lead the Ospreys,” said Jones.

”I have been involved with the discussions and kept fully informed of the position, and I’m obviously delighted that I will now be able to continue the job I’ve been doing over the last two seasons.

"For us to hit the performance levels that are required consistently over the course of the season, it’s not going to be just about how I lead the team. I’m fortunate that we have a number of influential players with leadership skills and experience within the group who will work with me over the course of the season to help the Ospreys build on our successes to date."

The Ospreys face Connacht in Galway in their opening Magners League fixture this Friday, with Jones joined by 2009 Lions James Hook and Mike Phillips in a 24-man squad.

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