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Grand Final skipper will bounce back

Guinness PRO12 Editor

24 Nov 2010


The man who guided the Ospreys to Magners League Grand Final glory will bounce back from his latest setback according to a regional and international tem-mate.

Ryan Jones officially lost the Wales captaincy to Matthew Rees just moments after conceding the penalty that allowed Fiji to claim an historic draw at the Millennium Stadium last Friday.

The Grand Slam-winning skipper described that period as the ‘worst 20 minutes of my rugby career’ at the post-match press conference.

But Ospreys and Wales team-mate Alun Wyn Jones is convinced that his namesake will come back stronger than ever as the Ospreys target a second successive Magners League crown.

“He’s a man of great resolve,” said Alun Wyn, who played alongside Ryan in the Ospreys pack when the Welsh region won a third Celtic League title with victory over Leinster at the RDS six months ago.

“I’ve played a lot of games alongside him.He was my first long-time international captain and club captain.

 “He’ll take every criticism he receives and look at it in detail and turn it into a positive and work on his game.

“He’s done it before and he’ll do it again. It’s just another chapter in his playing career.”

As for Wales bouncing back after that 16-16 draw with the Fijians, Alun Wyn admits that the entire squad were hugely disappointed with their last performance.

But, just as he insists Ryan Jones will bounce back personally, he is confident that the set up in Wales gives Warren Gatland’s men the best possible chance of turning their own fortunes around sooner rather than later.

“We’ve all been grumpy this last week. If we say we are not we would be lying,” added Alun Wyn.

“But that’s gone now – we have shelved it. What’s been said has been said behind closed doors and we move forward. It’s as simple as that.

“We’ve probably got some of the best facilities, the best environment we could have, we are looked after the best and we’ve got the best fans in the world.

“You look at the magazines like Rugby World and they ask players what’s the best ground played at and it’s the Millennium Stadium. That’s for a reason. The fans make that occasion. It’s one of the few (international) venues where you are so close to the fans and it’s a great place to be.

“Come the weekend there is no other place you want to be than in the Welsh changing room and leading up to it, in here at the Vale, with this set-up and with the management and squad we’ve got.”