Alun-Wyn Jones to stay with Ospreys
January 24, 2014
Jones will be staying in Wales © Getty Images
Alun-Wyn Jones has bucked the trend and signed a new deal to stay with Ospreys, handing Welsh rugby a much-needed boost the day after Leigh Halfpenny's confirmed departure to Toulon.
Jones has signed an extension which will extend his stay at Liberty Stadium by three years, keeping him in Wales until after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. There had been fears Jones, who has 74 caps for Wales and captained the British & Irish Lions in the crucial third Test last summer, would join the exodus of Welsh stars across the channel.
But today's news is a welcome change for Welsh rugby, who just yesterday were digesting the news that full-back Halfpenny had signed a bumper deal with the European champions for next season. It also comes just a week away from the start of the Six Nations, where Wales are going for an unprecedented third successive championship in the backdrop of an increasingly uncertain domestic picture.
Although he confessed he did have offers from elsewhere, Jones admitted the chance to remain loyal to Ospreys - where he has been since 2005 - and Welsh rugby was a deciding factor in signing a new deal.
"I'm very happy to be able to resolve my future, which means I can now concentrate solely on my rugby," he said.
"It's flattering to have received offers from elsewhere, but at this point in my career my focus is on being in the right environment to ensure the longevity of both my domestic and international career.
"It's important to me that I'm playing the right level of rugby to ensure I am at my best, which is why it makes sense for me to accept the offer on the table from the Ospreys."
Ospreys' rugby operations manager Andy Lloyd insisted the re-signing of Jones is a huge boost for the region and for the Welsh game as a whole.
"Alun Wyn has been, and continues to be, a fantastic servant to this region and is a true role model to those around him," said Lloyd.
"A natural leader, he demands the highest standards of himself and everybody in this environment, and it will be a better place with him around in the coming seasons.
"Given the uncertainty that still surrounds the game in Wales in general, we've given Alun Wyn reassurances regarding his future options, but it is fantastic news that he is staying at the Liberty Stadium."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd