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Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Monday, 24 January 2011

Scott Johnson praises Ryan Jones' versatility

Ryan Jones
Jones has played at number eight, blindside flanker and lock this season

Ospreys boss Scott Johnson has hailed Ryan Jones' "quality" attitude since losing the Welsh and Ospreys captaincy.

Jones suffered a double blow as after Alun Wyn Jones replaced him as Ospreys skipper in the summer, he was stripped of the Wales captaincy in November.

Matthew Rees is Wales' new leader but Jones has reacted with man-of-the-match performances for Ospreys in Europe.

"Ryan has taken his moves in to the lock and his loss of the captaincy so well," said Johnson.

Jones, who inspired Wales to the 2008 Grand Slam and Ospreys to the 2010 Magners League title, has played most of his rugby in the back row in recent years.

But there seems to be a difference of opinion between Wales and the Ospreys about which position is best for him.

Wales coach Gatland believes he considers the 29-year-old as a back-rower - particularly at number eight - who is not big enough to be a second row.

But Jones has been operating in the second row for the Ospreys due the Welsh region's back-row strength and his "versatility."

The 2005 British and Irish Lions star was man-of-the-match for the Ospreys in their Heineken Cup pool win against London Irish in December playing at lock.

Ryan Jones
Jones receives the man-of-the-match award after his display against Toulon

While Jones starred as a blindside flanker in their final pool victory over French giants Toulon on Saturday, earning more man-of-the-match plaudits in Europe.

The double Grand Slam winner has been named in Gatland's 28-man Six Nations squad and will hope to win his 47th international cap against England at the Millennium Stadium on 4 February.

And Johnson praised Jones' positive reaction to losing two captaincies as the Ospreys director of rugby watched him excel in their 29-17 win over Toulon.

"It really showed what a quality player he has become and how versatile he has become," said Johnson.

"He has been an outstanding performer in all those positions. I wanted to show the world that while we may see him as a lock he can play at the back of the scrum.

"Ryan has taken his moves in to the lock and his loss of the captaincy so well. It says so much about the lad. I'm real proud of Ryan."

Jones has committed himself to the Ospreys by signing a four-year contract until the end of the 2013/14 season, effectively keeping him at the region for the rest of his playing career.



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see also
Wales' Faletau in 6N injury blow
25 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Williams omitted from Wales squad
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Johnson tips Williams for Wales
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Gatland concedes Wales sack fear
23 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Ospreys 29-17 Toulon
22 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Williams is offered Ospreys exit
22 Jan 11 |  Ospreys
Ospreys see Jones future at lock
22 Oct 10 |  Ospreys
Jones pens four-year Ospreys deal
24 Nov 10 |  Ospreys
Ospreys hand Wyn Jones captaincy
23 Aug 10 |  Ospreys


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