Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce that Junior World Championship finalist, Jack Jones, has signed his first professional contract.
20-year old Jones, a second row who can also play at blindside flanker, has put pen to paper on a two-year deal.
The Neath born youngster is a product of the Ospreys player development pathway, playing his early rugby at Tonmawr and attending Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera, Llandovery College and Neath Port Talbot College.
After captaining the region at age-grade level he was appointed Swansea RFC skipper for the 2011/12 season at just 18, making 17 appearances for the All Whites. He spent last season on loan at the Ospreys’ partner club in Italy, Rugby Rovigo, playing 15 times in the Italian Super 10 competition and four times in the Amlin Cup, including games against Perpignan and Worcester.
Having been named in the Wales U20 squad for the Junior World Championships earlier this summer he played in all five matches, showing his versatility by starting at four and six.
Speaking after signing his contract, Jones said:
“I’m landed. After being away last year in Italy it was what I aimed to do, to come back here and try to establish myself as part of the Ospreys region.
“The experience out in Italy was excellent for me. It was a good standard of rugby that helped me develop as a player but I’m looking forward to new challenges this season that can hopefully help me to kick on again.
“I’m lucky to be training with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Ian Evans, top, top players in my position who’ve worked extremely hard to achieve what they have. With great players and great coaches around you this is the best environment to be in as a young player.
“This year for me is about working hard every day, getting more rugby under my belt and hopefully making the next step up.”
Rugby Operations Manager, Andy Lloyd, added:
“It’s good news for Jack. He did very well last season out in Italy and at the Junior World Championship earlier in the summer and he’s shown that he has the potential to establish himself as an Osprey.
“We’ve had him as part of the ‘A’ group throughout pre-season and he’s fitted in well with the squad. In fairness to Jack he’s got his head down and worked hard. He’s obviously got a long way to go before he is the finished article but with the right attitude and work ethic he could have a bright future.
“He’s got some outstanding role models in the environment to look up to and learn from, players who have shown their capability at the very highest level, and I’m sure he will benefit from being part of the group.
“The experience of spending last season in Italy with Rovigo has really benefited Jack, on and off the field. As with Scott Baldwin in Milan the previous year, being away from home in an unfamiliar environment and having to fend for himself has enabled him to become more self sufficient, while the experience gained from playing a good, competitive level of rugby will stand him in good stead for the coming season and beyond. The whole experience has helped him to mature as a person and as a player over the last 12 months.
“Jack is the seventh, and final, of our players from the Wales U20 squad that reached the Junior World Championship Final this summer that we have secured for the future. Our development pathway is continuing to produce talented young players with an increased investment of 600 per cent ensuring the future for the region is a bright one.”