Jones and Blair to move on

Two of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour party will sever links with their long-standing home town clubs at the end of the season. [more]

Jones and Blair to move on

Two of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour party will sever links with their long-standing home town clubs at the end of the season.

Scotland scrum half Mike Blair has confirmed he will be leaving Heineken Cup semi-finalists Edinburgh Rugby and Scarlets outside half Stephen Jones is joining London Wasps this summer.

Both players joined forces on the 2009 Lions tour to South Africa and both enjoyed differing fortunes last weekend in Europe. Blair scored a crucial second minute try in Edinburgh’s Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Toulouse at Murrayfield, while Jones was in the Scarlets side that fell at the same hurdle in the Amlin Challenge Cup in Brive.

“Being born and raised in Edinburgh, I've played all my rugby here and have been committed to the club my entire professional career. But the time is right for me personally to throw myself at a whole new challenge,” said Blair, who hasn’t reveleaed where he will be playing next season..

“Rugby offers many opportunities and experiences and, while I believe that this may be one of the most exciting times to be an Edinburgh player, I don’t want to regret not trying something different when I finally hang up my boots.”

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Blair, Scotland’s m,ost capped scrum half with 80 appearances for his country, joined Edinburgh in 2002 and has made 158 competitive appearances for the club. He made his Scotland debut against Canada.

Jones, Wales' most capped player with 104 international appearances, is heading to London to join Wasps after 15 years at Llanelli and the Scarlets. He has scored 917 points for Wales and has also played in six Tests for the Lions on two tours.

"I feel this is the right time to move on at this stage in my rugby career – the Scarlets are showing such promise and have plenty to build on for the future with a very talented group of emerging players who are only going to go from strength to strength now," said Jones, who has appeared in 313 matches for the Scarlets, scoring 2850 points to date.

"It's been a huge part of my life being a Scarlet – starting when I was 18 and now leaving when I'm 34 and apart from a couple of years in France its where I've grown up as a rugby player. I've been delighted to be part of Scarlets rugby throughout and it has been an honour to pull on the shirt every single time.

"It's going to be difficult to leave but I know this is the right time. It has been an ambition of mine to play in England at some point in my career and I look forward to a new and exciting challenge ahead by joining Wasps."
 

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