sport

Jones explains Ospreys call

Wales star Alun-Wyn Jones says his decision to commit to the Ospreys was simply the "best fit."

Jones, who captained the British & Irish Lions in their decisive third Test victory over Australia in the summer, was not short of options.

He could - like Wales captain Sam Warburton - have opted for a central contract with the Welsh Rugby Union. Or he could have moved to France and taken a huge pay hike, as Leigh Halfpenny has done by agreeing to join Toulon in the summer.

Lions and Wales prop Adam Jones and centre Scott Williams are expected to follow the Warburton route.

But Jones is content to renew his contract with the Ospreys until at least after next year's World Cup.

His decision is a big boost for Welsh rugby given the current back-drop of political unrest between the WRU and Wales' four professional regions.

"It has been a delicate time, but the reaction has been encouraging," Jones said. "It's what I see as the best fit for me at this point. I can't really fault the reaction from anyone.

"When I spoke with Steve Tandy (head coach) and Andrew Hore (chief executive) at the Ospreys, I told them to just make it a difficult decision for me in terms of the complete package. I told them if they made it as difficult as possible for me I would be happy.

"I know that is creating pain for myself, but I didn't want it to be a simple decision based on a club offering X amount of money and I would go there. That wasn't the sole motivation.

"It was the complete package. I asked the Ospreys to do that and they were able to do that. It was a competitive proposition they put towards me, and I see fit for myself to be there."

Welcomed

Despite turning down the WRU's contract offer - a decision Jones admitted was "very difficult" - he has been encouraged by the subsequent response.

"I want to stress that my decision was welcomed by the union," he added.

"I met Roger Lewis (WRU group chief executive) after it was announced, and he congratulated me and said it was good I was staying in Wales.

"The big thing was that I need to be playing rugby to be selected and that was the decision I made. Had there been an agreement where I knew I would definitely have been in the Ospreys (under a central contract) it would have been more difficult for me to choose.

"I am guaranteed rugby with the Ospreys. Admittedly, I don't know which competition I am going to be playing in, but the way the situation is at the minute if I had signed a central contract I wasn't guaranteed rugby and I didn't know what competition I was playing in.

"You could say I've gone with the safer option. I haven't tried to be controversial.

"I made it (the decision) myself and it wasn't forced upon me. I didn't make it because certain players were leaving and I didn't want to go because players had gone. I have made a decision and for the near future I'm happy where I am.

"I don't want it to come across as I had wished I had signed a central contract.

"It would have been advantageous to me from a game-management and physiological point of view, with fewer games, more training, better access, lower numbers-ratio to coaches etc. But, ultimately, potentially I wouldn't be playing rugby."