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Jones makes Halfpenny challenge

Mark Jones and Leigh Halfpenny
Jones and Halfpenny traded the Wales 14 jersey last season

Mark Jones says he is ready to reclaim his Wales wing berth from British and Irish Lions star Leigh Halfpenny.

The 47-cap Scarlets captain, 29, vied with Halfpenny for a Wales spot last year, but saw the newcomer triumph and win a spot on the summer Lions tour.

"We had a good tussle for the jersey, obviously he was very lucky to go on with the Lions - that would have been a huge ambition of mine," said Jones.

"I look forward to the challenge this year, there's life in the old dog yet!"

Jones and Halfpenny are selected as two of four wings in coach Warren Gatland's 29-man Wales squad for the four-Test November series, along with Shane Williams and Tom James.

I've got experience at full-back and I would be happy putting on the Welsh jersey wherever

Leigh Halfpenny

There is no recognised full-back in Lee Byrne's injury absence, though, meaning that Halfpenny could be considered as a 15, James Hook and Jamie Roberts the other possible contenders.

"It's not for me to say, it's up to the coaches," said Blues youngster Halfpenny, 20.

"All I can say is that I've got experience at full-back and I would be happy putting on the Welsh jersey wherever, I'm happy to play both positions."

Blues coach Dai Young added: "Leigh's certainly got the experience at full-back and he wouldn't be fazed by it.


"He's played there for us, played a lot of age-group rugby there and he's got the qualities to adapt."

Despite his rivalry with Halfpenny, Jones is an admirer of the Swansea-born youngster.

"I got selected both in front and behind Leigh last season," Jones told BBC Sport Wales.

"You have to respect what he's done, he'll be coming into this season looking to build on last year and improve and to keep me away from that shirt."


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