The Ospreys are delighted to confirm that captain Alun Wyn Jones has committed his future to the region by signing a new three-year contract.
Still only 25-years old, Jones was born and bred in Swansea, and was one of the first products of the Ospreys development system, making his debut for the region in September 2005 when he came off the bench in the second half of the first ever competitive fixture at the Liberty Stadium, a Magners League game against Leinster.
Since then he has established himself as a genuine world class second row, with 115 appearances for the Ospreys to his credit, reaching the century in last season's Magners League Play-Off semi-final against Glasgow at the Liberty Stadium. His influence on and off the field was recognised last summer when he was appointed captain ahead of the 2010/11 season.
The Swansea University law graduate gained his first Wales cap during the 2006 tour to Argentina, going on to rack up 48 international appearances so far, and was part of the 2008 Grand Slam team as well as earning three caps with the Lions in South Africa the following year. During the 2008 Six Nations, he was handed the Welsh captaincy for the game against Italy in Rome.
Speaking after signing his new contract, Jones said:
Obviously I'm really happy to be here for another three years, it's my home region and I'm proud to represent the Ospreys. I'm thankful to the coaches and the directors for having the faith in me that they do, and for allowing me the opportunity to continue with the region.
It's taken longer than I anticipated to complete everything but I've never wanted to play anywhere else and I've never said otherwise. It's flattering to have interest from France and offers from other clubs, but I'm very conscious that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
It's important to make sure everything is right when you are committing to a contract. I wanted to speak to the coaches and the board, to really understand the details of the changes they are making, and to see what their long term plans are. The evolution taking place here is very positive, the new facilities and players coming in makes me excited about the next three years. Let's say that it would have been a far more difficult decision to move on than it has been to stay here.
I know that I'm fortunate enough to wear the Ospreys shirt but I'm a fan first and foremost, and like our supporters, I feel bitterly disappointed if we fail to hit the highest standards that we all expect of the region. I give everything to the Ospreys, and I'm hopeful that over the next three years I can really help the team kick-on to the next level.
Ospreys Forwards Coach Jonathan Humphreys is obviously delighted that the region has secured the services of their captain for another three years, and he commented:
It's a massive boost for everybody at the Ospreys that Alun Wyn, one of world rugby's leading second rows, has committed his future to the region, and that he sees this environment as one where he can achieve his ambitions over the next three years.
Alun Wyn is integral to what we do here, and to where we want to take the Ospreys moving forward. He is captain for a reason; he exhibits all the characteristics we want and expect from our players, demands the highest standards of himself and his colleagues, is ambitious, and has a desire to succeed. This is fantastic news.
Alun Wyn Jones is the latest player to commit to a new contract this season, following on from Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Andrew Bishop, Richard Fussell, Tom Isaacs, Rhys Webb, James King, Kristian Phillips, Scott Baldwin and James Goode.