RaboDirect Pro12: Wales forward Ryan Jones confirms Bristol switch
Wales international Ryan Jones is to leave Ospreys at the end of the season to join Bristol
Ryan Jones has confirmed his summer switch to Bristol Rugby after reaching an agreement with the Ospreys over the final year of his contract.
The 33-year-old had already agreed a two-year deal with the IPA Green King Championship leaders, who are expected to win promotion to the Aviva.
I’ve had a fantastic 10 years with the Ospreys and will leave with so many good memories to treasure
Premiership at the end of the season, and will head to the Memorial Stadium at the end of the Ospreys’ Pro12 commitments in May.
Jones began his career at the now-defunct Celtic Warriors region before joining the Ospreys in 2004 which led to the start of an impressive rugby career which saw the former Wales captain win five trophies, including four Celtic League titles.
The Newport-born Ospreys centurion—who can play at number 8, as a blindside flanker or in the second row—admitted it was difficult to leave the region he now calls home.
“This has definitely been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, but it’s one that I’m making for my family,” he said.
“I’ve had a fantastic 10 years with the Ospreys and will leave with so many good memories to treasure.
“I’m immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved as a group, with five trophies to look back on, and that success has enabled me to enjoy significant success at international level as well. It’s truly been a fantastic journey.”
Jones made his Ospreys debut in a 34-17 win over Munster in Swansea on the opening weekend of the 2004-05 season and has made 147 appearances in all competitions for Wales’ most successful region, scoring 20 tries – the seventh highest for the region behind illustrious backs including Shane Williams, Tommy Bowe and Lee Byrne.
Capped 75 times for Wales and a tourist with the British and Irish Lions in 2005, Jones enjoyed success on the international stage winning three Grand Slams and was nominated for the IRB World Player of the Year in 2008.
“I’m delighted to be joining Bristol Rugby. I’ll be looking to use my experience to help the team and contribute to the success of the club,” Jones added.
“The vision of Bristol, the passionate fanbase, and the direction that the club is going is a huge attraction for me. I want to test myself at the highest level in the English game, and I’m determined to achieve that as a Bristol Rugby player.”
Bristol have had a busy month with 11 players so far confirmed to be joining in the summer, and director of rugby Andy Robinson believes the club’s ability to sign Jones with other high-profile clubs interested is a sign of their intent.
“Ryan’s arrival indicates the ambition that Bristol Rugby has and the quality of players we are capable of attracting,” he told bristolrugby.co.uk.
“To captain your country a record number of times and to play for the British & Irish Lions is no mean feat – what Ryan has achieved in his career so far is remarkable.
“His influence—on and off the field—will be significant for us, both during the play-offs this season and next. Ryan is hungry to help Bristol move forward and drive our progress.”