News in Brief
Jones relaxed about captaincy debate
Scrum.com
September 30, 2009
Wales captain Ryan Jones applauds the fans at the Millennium Stadium, Wales v England, Six Nations Championship, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 14, 2009
Wales skipper Ryan Jones will have no complaints if he loses the captaincy © Getty Images
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  • Wales skipper Ryan Jones will have no complaints if he loses the captaincy for their upcoming November Tests.

    Jones, who led his country to a Grand Slam in 2008, endured a difficult dip in form last season that saw him miss out on selection for the original British & Irish Lions squad. The Ospreys No.8 admitted that there had been no contanct with Wales coach Warren Gatland and that if the decision was made to go with someone else then he would step aside with great memories in the role.

    "That decision will be made in the next few weeks with or without my input," Jones told The Western Mail. "We will cross that bridge when we come to it. I have had some good and bad experiences, but they will all be ones that I will treasure.

    "I have been Welsh captain for longer than some and I have won silverware as well. I don't think there is any other job like that in the rugby world with the pressure that comes with it. It was something I grew up wanting to do and I have been fortunate to do it. But you are only ever keeping these big jobs warm for somebody else.

    "If the time comes that I have to relinquish it I am going to put my hands up, walk away with a smile on my face and say I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. It has had its tough times but it has also been great and I would not swap anything for it."

  • All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith has maintained that no decision has been made on whether rookie lock Isaac Ross will be selected for their November tour.

    Ross played in all but one of the All Blacks' Tri-Nations Tests but one school of thought is for the Canterbury youngster to skip the tour in order to bulk up in the gym.

    "I think, as with everyone else, it has got to be what is right for Isaac," Smith told The Press newspaper. "He has obviously got a lot of talent and some areas have been well publicised that he needs to work on. It is whether he can do that while he is playing or whether he needs to have extended time in the gym."

  • Legendary All Black Colin Meads has become the latest figure to criticise the end-of-season changes to the Air New Zealand Cup. The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) is committed to downsizing the 14-team competition from next year to make the competition more affordable.

    The former lock said smaller unions such as Manawatu, Northland and Tasman had improved and were now proving themselves on the field.

    "Now they (NZRU) want to chop it all out again," Meads told The Manawatu Standard newspaper, adding that increased crowd sizes and the atmosphere at smaller grounds proved the competition's popularity. "To me that's bull. I think we'll see a lot more water under the bridge before it happens. I wouldn't go past there being court action.

    "There are going to be a lot of problems if they put four teams down. There will be some hard words said to the NZRU."

  • Stade Francais have been rocked by two serious injuries, with centre Brian Liebenberg and prop Pedro Ledesma both out for the foreseeable future.

    Liebenberg ruptured knee ligaments in last weekend's draw with Toulouse and will be absent for seven months. In the same game, Argentina international Ledesma tore his bicep and will not feature again for four months.

    Flanker Mauro Bergamasco is set for tests after suffering a suspected broken metatarsal in the same game, and is a potential doubt for Italy's November Test matches.

  • Cardiff Blues flanker Ma'ama Molitika has been ruled out for four months with a damaged pectoral muscle, leaving the Blues low on options for their Heineken Cup campaign.

    Wales flanker Martyn Williams is out until late November/December, while No.8 Xavier Rush is struggling with a dislocated finger.

  • Counties-Manukau winger Lelia Masaga will miss the rest of the Air New Zealand Cup and has been ruled out of contention for the All Blacks' season-ending tour because of injury.Masaga, 23, underwent surgery on his left shoulder yesterday and is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of the next Super 14 season.

    He joins centres Richard Kahui and Isaia Toeava, locks Ali Williams and Bryn Evans and hooker Keven Mealamu as All Blacks tour candidates ruled out with injury.

  • An all-female officials team will control the New Zealand women's national provincial championship final in a history-making match between Canterbury and Auckland on Saturday. The Christchurch fixture will be the first top-level domestic match in New Zealand to feature both a female referee and assistant referees.

  • Connacht prop Robbie Morris has received a three-week ban for striking Ulster forward T J Anderson during a Magners League game last Friday. Morris is now suspended until October 20.

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