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Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 21:00 UK
2008 EDF Energy Cup final
Twickenham, 12 April, 2008

By Phil Harlow
BBC Sport at Twickenham

Ospreys captain Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones has lifted two major trophies this season

Ryan Jones is the outstanding candidate to captain the Lions next year, according to Ospreys coach Lyn Jones.

The Wales skipper, fresh from guiding his country to Grand Slam glory, lead the Ospreys to EDF Energy Cup success against Leicester at Twickenham.

"Ryan certainly won't go missing in South Africa next year, I can tell you that," said coach Jones after his side's 23-6 victory.

"For me, Ryan is already Lions captain for next year."

The 26-year-old Jones was handed the Ospreys captaincy at the start of the season and has proved to be a natural leader, much to the delight of his coach.

"I felt his personality was spot on for captaincy," he said.

"It was a big decision to make him captain this year, but he is a leader on the field and his performances are exemplary. He's hard on himself and on everybody else - he demands high standards.


"He's not a lover, he's a leader. There's a huge difference."

Number eight Jones was anxious not to get too far ahead of himself, having battled back from an injury that kept him out of last year's World Cup.

He was also keen to pay tribute to his team-mates after the Ospreys became the first side from Wales to win the Anglo-Welsh tournament.

"I'm extremely proud to be leading these guys," he said.

"I've waited four years for this moment. We've won a couple of Magners titles along the way, which are great in their own way, but we've earned some major silverware here against one of the best teams in Europe."

Jones was in the Ospreys side that lost 41-35 Leicester in the final of the same tournament last season.

"We've learned our lessons from last year and that's the most pleasing thing for me as a captain - you don't have to tell this group of guys anything twice," he added.

"They learn first time and have the mentality and ability to put things right."

His genuine rivals for the Lions job are few and far between at present, but are likely to include Brian O'Driscoll, Phil Vickery and Jason White.

Ospreys coach Jones feels his man certainly has the edge on one former Lions captain - Leicester's Martin Corry, who stood in for O'Driscoll in the first Test of the tour of New Zealand in 2005 - after his side's win over the Tigers on Saturday.

"He took on Corry at the captaincy role and edged him," said Jones.

see also
Ospreys can still fly higher
13 Apr 08 |  Ospreys
Ospreys 23-6 Leicester
12 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
EDF Energy Cup final as it happened
12 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
EDF Cup final photos
12 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 41-35 Ospreys
15 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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