Guinness Pro12: Adam Jones excited for future after Blues switch
Guinness Pro12: Adam Jones reveals excitement at future after joining Cardiff Blues from Ospreys
Wales stalwart Adam Jones has revealed his excitement at the future after joining Cardiff Blues from regional rivals Ospreys.
— Cardiff Blues (@cardiff_blues) August 19, 2014
The 33-year-old tighthead prop, whose contract with the Liberty Stadium outfit expired at the end of last season, will link up with international front row colleagues Gethin Jenkins and Matthew Rees in a formidable front row at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
A 95-times capped veteran for Wales, Jones has struggled to make his mark in Test rugby in the last 18 months and was unceremoniously hauled off against South Africa in his 100th Test match in June before losing his place for the second match of Wales’ 2-0 series defeat, putting his dream of lining up next year at a fourth Rugby World Cup in doubt.
He is as hungry as ever for success and a very driven man
“This is about a new challenge for me,” said Jones. “At this stage in my career I want a new environment and to really push myself.
“I’ve been really impressed by the set-up at Blues and the desire to achieve in the coming years under the leadership of [new director of rugby] Mark Hammett.
“It is that ambition and potential for the future that excites me about this move.
“Obviously I would like to thank everyone at the Ospreys—from the players and coaches to the wonderful supporters—who have been absolutely fantastic with me. I wish the region every success for the future.”
Alongside his international endeavours with Wales and the British and Irish Lions, which have brought a haul of three Grand Slams and a Lions win in Australia, Jones has been a constant for the Ospreys since breaking through at the region in 2003, playing a part in their four championship wins between 2005 and 2012.
But the impasse on a new participation agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Regional Rugby Wales—the body that acts in the interests of the four Welsh regions—has left Jones in limbo over the summer despite receiving offers from the Ospreys and the WRU earlier in the year.
“Adam has joined the Blues determined to achieve something special with us,” said Mark Hammett. “He is as hungry as ever for success and a very driven man.
“Adam wants to make a difference and that is exactly why we want him here. He will be great for the younger players to learn off and is a world class tighthead prop who will add considerably to the squad we are assembling.
“He will improve what we are doing and I’m thrilled he is now a Blue for this season.”
Blues chairman Peter Thomas revealed that the region had to act fast to beat off stiff competition from clubs in the Aviva Premiership and Top 14 to take Jones to Cardiff with Sale Sharks and Bristol reportedly among the interested parties.
“Adam is an iconic figure in Welsh rugby and a key part of the international set-up for the last 10 years,” he said.
“He is one of the very best props in Europe and when it became clear he was available we acted quickly, in conjunction with our director of rugby, to secure his services over the last 48 hours.
“We hope this signing excites our fans and they see this as fantastic news. We have strengthened our pack resources this summer with the signing of internationals Jarrad Hoeata, Craig Mitchell and Manoa Vosawai and now Adam will join us and give us even greater depth and firepower up front.”