Monday, January 11, 2010

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones committed to Scarlets

British and Irish Lions fly-half Stephen Jones wants the rest of his playing career with Llanelli Scarlets.

The Wales star, 32, has been associated with his home club since his debut in 1996 and is in his second spell at the Scarlets after two years in France.

Jones has been linked with a move away as he is out of contract in the summer.

But Jones told BBC Sport: "I don't know how many playing days I've got left in me, but there's more than a good chance they'll be at Parc y Scarlets!"

Jones is a talismanic figure at the Scarlets as the experienced number 10, arguably the best fly-half in the northern hemisphere, is helping guide his young team through a transitional period.

The Scarlets' leading points-scorer and Wales' double Grand Slam winner has been linked with a big-money return to France, where he spent two seasons with Clermont Auvergne between 2004 and 2006.

In recent season the Scarlets, Welsh club rugby's traditional flag-bearers in Europe, have struggled.

And the west Walians currently sit second from bottom in this season's Magners League table and are unlikely to get beyond the Heineken Cup pool stage.

But Jones has huge emotional ties with the Scarlets, where he graduated through Llanelli's youth system, has committed his future to the Parc y Scarlets region.

"They way I look at things at the moment is 'OK, we're in transition'.

"We've got good youngsters who want to be successful with a good work ethic, they make the working week enjoyable."

"The club have been very good to me the way they've managed me, especially in the period where I came back from the Lions," added Jones, who started all three Tests in the 2-1 series loss in South Africa last summer.

"They realise I'm a bit older now, a few more miles on the clock, so the club are good to me in the way they construct my working week."

"I'll try and prepare and train smartly to obtain that. That would be my goal and that's what I'd like to get to.

"I'd have to assess things then, but obviously I'd be a lot older. I will see how the body is and more importantly the mind - if I'm enjoying it I might look to play on, it's all about enjoyment."

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