Guinness PRO12 rising stars: Scarlets’ Dan Jones

Charlie Bennett
25 July 2017

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Dan Jones has already made 33 appearances for Guinness PRO12 champions Scarlets, but there look to be many more on the horizon or one of the finest young fly-halves in the northern hemisphere.

The 21-year-old is currently playing second fiddle to Wales international Rhys Patchell, but when called upon he has proven he has much to offer and can handle the big occasion.

A masterful display against Saracens in the European Champions Cup brought 17 points, while he has 189 in his young career so far – and this season he is expected to take his game to even greater heights.

Jones signed a new contract in January, said to be a ‘long-term deal’, and is keen to pay back the club’s faith in him.

Early impressions

Having briefly come off the bench in an Anglo-Welsh Cup match against Cardiff Blues the previous year, Jones made his Scarlets league debut on the opening day of the 2015-16 season against defending champions Glasgow Warriors.

The Welsh side won 16-10, and Jones immediately showed what he has to offer – kicking two penalties, the second of which was from near halfway.

Jones was mightily impressive and remained calm throughout the contest as the Scarlets inflicted the first home defeat on the Warriors in two years.

“Some of the young guys like Dinky (Dan Jones) and Steff Evans come in and just play – they’re not phased by who they play against or where they’re playing they just play,” said back row John Barclay after the match.

“It’s quite refreshing for someone who’s been around a bit. It just shows you that you don’t have to have all the experience and knowledge you can just play off these guys.

“The truth is I’m learning a lot off the new guys and it’s really fun to play with them.”

Grand Slam success

Jones rose to wider prominence in 2016, when he was part of the Wales side which won the U20 Six Nations Grand Slam.

He scored 52 points in the tournament, including 15 in the 35-6 win against Italy which clinched the title, and played a pivotal part in their success – displaying ice-cool goalkicking and deft hands in the loose.

That catapulted him into the Scarlets reckoning on a more regular basis, even though Patchell has a strong grip on the No.10 jersey.

Future international recognition is not out of the question, even if Wales are well-stocked at fly-half with the likes of Dan Biggar and Sam Davies, and Jones will have an eye on the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The big occasion

Jones is a player for the big occasion, shown by his performances for Wales U20 and the Scarlets while under intense pressure.

And in club rugby, there are few bigger matches than facing the European Champions Cup holders in a crucial group stage game.

But Jones helped Scarlets scare Saracens in January, as he kicked five penalties and a conversion to put them on the brink of victory before the English side snatched a late 22-22 draw.

Now with a new and secure contract under his belt, it is time to push on and make a serious claim for the fly-half jersey – and there will be plenty of chances for him to show what he can do this season.

Head coach Wayne Pivac is a big fan, and with big games across the Guinness PRO12, Champions Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup to come, Jones will be relied upon.

He has the talent and hunger to succeed so now he just needs to execute, something he has succeeded at time and again already.

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