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Dragons can lead the way to Wales

Guinness PRO12 Editor

27 Jul 2010


Former Wales fly-half Matthew Jones hopes his summer move to Rodney Parade will help him reignite his international career, although he insists he is fully focused on nothing other than the Dragons.

The ex-Ospreys prodigy had been touted as the next big thing during his time at the Liberty Stadium but his form dipped and the rise of James Hook saw him leave the region in 2007.

Jones has since had spells at Moseley, London Welsh and Worcester but is now back in Wales after joining Paul Turner’s men ahead of the new campaign.

Jason Tovey made the Dragons fly-half berth his own last season after ousting James Arlidge but Jones insists he has no intention of giving his new team-mate an easy ride as the Dragons look to improve on their seventh-place Magners League showing.

Having spent so long away from the limelight in terms of Welsh rugby, Jones is desperate to start creating positive headlines by fulfilling his undoubted potential back in his homeland.

“I’m really happy to be here at the Dragons and it really is lovely to be back and living in Wales,” said Jones.

“At the end of the day I have come here to play. What I have seen and heard of Jason Tovey, he is a very good player. We get on well and have a bit of banter in training, but he knows I have not come here to play second fiddle.

“It had been going really well at Worcester and I started something like the first 12 games when I moved there. But I then broke my foot and that ruled me out for quite a long period. I came back towards the end of the season but did the exact same thing again and that ruled me out until December of last season. 

“But despite the injuries I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Worcester – it was good for me to get out of Wales. I had been going well at the Ospreys but I got injured, James Hook took his chance and after that I struggled to get back into the side.

“Over the last few years I have really developed. I think experience helps a lot; you learn a lot from playing in different games being in different scenarios. You just pick up little things which are critical.

“I feel I have matured as a player. One thing that sticks in my memory from the Ospreys is Shaun Holley saying ‘you won’t see the best of Matthew Jones until he is 26’ and now at 26 I do feel like I am nearing my best.”

Jones won his solitary Wales cap to date against Canada on the 2005 tour of North America but has since fallen off the international radar.

During his final year-and-a-half with the Ospreys and his three years in England, Jones has seen Hook, Stephen Jones and Dan Biggar all wear the Wales No10 shirt with some style, while current Dragons incumbent Tovey is also being talked about as a potential international either before or after the 2011 World Cup.

But while Jones admits he faces a long road back to add to his international he certainly hasn’t given up hope up becoming more than a one-cap wonder.

“After being in England for two years I have to establish myself at regional level again and from there I want to keep pushing,” said Jones.

“There is also a World Cup around the corner and that is on my mind. Whether it is too early for me I don’t know but I would love to be a part of it.

“Anyone who says they don’t want to play for Wales should probably hang-up their boots. It is every boy’s dream to play for Wales growing up and I want to play for Wales again.

“I have only got the one cap, of course I am chuffed with it but it is frustrating – I want more. With game time and an injury-free spell I think I can be good enough to get more than one.

“First and foremost it’s about the Dragons and if bigger and better things come then that’s a bonus.”