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Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 15:45 UK

Scarlets sign fly-half Stephen Jones until 2012

Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones says he wants to play on until at least the 2011 World Cup

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones has ended speculation over his future by signing a one-year contract extension with the Scarlets.

This season Jones was linked with a move to Leicester as well as a possible return to France, having spent two seasons at Clermont Auvergne.

Boss Nigel Davies has also expressed fears stars may leave if they fail to make next season's Heineken Cup.

But Jones now stays until the end of the 2011-2012 season.

The news came on the eve of the Scarlets' crucial Magners League clash at Parc y Scarlets with Cardiff Blues.

Defeat would deny the hosts a place in next season's Heineken Cup unless the Blues go on to secure Wales' four teams a place in the tournament by winning the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup.

While we may be facing some pressure at the moment, there is a lot to be positive about in the longer term

Stephen Jones

In a Scarlets press release Jones said: "I am delighted to have signed an extended contract, as I've said all along, I have always wanted to continue my regional career with the Scarlets and now that has been agreed, and we can look forward in a very positive way.

"This region has plenty to build on for the future, we have a great group of talented young players who are coming through very strongly and will only grow in experience from all the game time that they have had this season.

"The philosophy and determination the Scarlets have in developing Welsh talent from within the region, is something I firmly believe in - it's good for the Scarlets and a positive move for Welsh rugby.

"As a player that's been part of this great Scarlets region over a decade, it's important to me to see this team develop further and I hope I can lend my experience to the team and support the younger squad members going forward.

"This squad is strong - there is a great team spirit, work ethic and energy amongst the younger guys and it will be good to keep this team together and build into next season.

"It's definitely going in the right direction and while we may be facing some pressure at the moment, there is a lot to be positive about in the longer term.

"I'm just really looking forward to playing my part in helping accelerate the transition of this squad over the next two years."

Head Coach Nigel Davies said securing Jones' future is hugely important to the region's future.

Davies said: "We are really pleased to have come to this agreement with Steve. He is a crucial part of our future, has been an integral part of this team for some time and as one of the most experienced Scarlets of all time, we know he has a lot to give both on and off the field at this stage in his career.

"He is a committed Scarlet, believes in our values and what we are trying to achieve and has a big influence on this squad going forward.

"With such a young squad, it is important that we retain key experience, knowledge and influence in our team from our senior players who not only perform on the pitch and set an example, but can help build the confidence and nurture the talent of our up and coming players.


"His motivation to stay with us is built on much more than just which competitions we are in and he's a valuable member of our team here."

The Wales star, 32, has been associated with his home club since his debut in 1996 and is in his second spell at the Scarlets after spending seasons 2004-05 and 2005-06 in France.

Earlier this season there was speculation linking British and Irish Lion Jones with a move to Cardiff Blues, but that was also strongly denied, with the Blues having signed Dan Parks from Glasgow.

In recent seasons the Scarlets, Welsh club rugby's traditional flag-bearers in Europe, have struggled.

The west Walians currently sit second from bottom in this season's Magners League and failed to get beyond the 2009-10 Heineken Cup pool stage.

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see also
Scarlets' 'massive' Euro showdown
16 Apr 10 |  Scarlets
Scarlets must handle the pressure
16 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Scarlets 16-39 Cardiff Blues
17 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Scarlets quartet agree new deals
22 Dec 09 |  Scarlets
Jones keen to stay with Scarlets
11 Jan 10 |  Scarlets
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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