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DonBilly
01-01-06, 12:41 PM
Blues stepping up bid to sign Jones

Dec 31 2005

Delme Parfitt, South Wales Echo


CARDIFF Blues have moved their bid to sign Stephen Jones on a stage further by meeting the Wales fly-half for talks this week.

The Echo has discovered that Jones met up with Blues coach Dai Young while home from France on a Christmas break to discuss a possible move to the Arms Park.

As revealed in these pages last week, the Blues have made the British Lion stand-off their number one target and it's understood they are ready to put a contract worth 200,000 a year on the table in an attempt to end his exile in French rugby with Clermont Auvergne.

And Jones, whose two-year Clermont deal expires this coming summer, is believed to be ready to return to his homeland amid fears his ability to take a full part in Wales' World Cup build-up will be jeopardised if he stays put.

However, the Blues look set for a fierce tug-of-war with Llanelli Scarlets over Jones' services after the Stradey Park region also held talks with their former player over the festive period.

loratadine
01-01-06, 12:42 PM
great news - its a petty the ospreys dont try and ding him - we need a good 10

harrison2468
01-01-06, 05:36 PM
I reckon he will go to Scarlets tbh.

An Tarbh
02-01-06, 07:51 PM
Yeah but will Scarlets match the wages?

Flamingo
02-01-06, 07:55 PM
If the Blues sign him i think there near the complete team.

But he will probably go to the scarlets to play with peel

harrison2468
02-01-06, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by An Tarbh@Jan 2 2006, 07:51 PM
Yeah but will Scarlets match the wages?
If it comes down to him going back to Wales, yes, because they won't want him going to Blues, playing against them. He was a quality player for the Scarlets when he played, and they could do with a 10 like Jones. I'm pretty sure they would try and sign him if the Blues do.

I don't understand why he feels he need to leave, it has done him the world of good since playing in France. Maybe the season is too long in France, and he feels he will burn out. After all, he is a major player for Wales.

loratadine
02-01-06, 08:38 PM
he loves france and feels he has learnt alot there but is ready to come home - if it comes down to money - then i very much doubt the scarlets will be able to afford 200,000 a year for one player.

harrison2468
02-01-06, 10:49 PM
Would Blues be able to afford it though?

loratadine
02-01-06, 11:02 PM
o0o yes - the blues are loaded compared to the other regions, - they are quite rich.

DonBilly
03-01-06, 12:53 AM
On the other hand if he stays in France I think that his current club will progress both in the Top14 and in the H-cup. It may be more likely for him to get then some club Rugby titles.

DonBilly
04-01-06, 03:35 AM
On this same topic from the Telegraph website:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
Welsh clubs scrap to bring Jones back from France
By Mick Cleary
(Filed: 04/01/2006)

Stephen Jones, the Lions and Wales fly-half, is set to turn his back on French rugby and return to Wales. Jones&#39; two-year contract with Clermont-Auvergne is up for renewal in the summer but he is being pursued by interested parties with a view to getting him back to Wales before the World Cup in 2007.

The chase for his signature is headed by his old club, Llanelli, and by Cardiff. There is little doubt that Jones will become the highest paid player in Welsh rugby, with a salary in the region of 250,000 a year should the deal go ahead. Jones, 28, turned down lucrative deals from Llanelli and Leicester when heading overseas in August 2004.

He was a key figure in Wales&#39; Grand Slam campaign last season and his presence, possibly alongside his international team-mate Dwayne Peel, the Scarlets scrum-half, would be a boost for national coach Mike Ruddock. Peel recently rejected overtures from English clubs.

Jones, with 51 Welsh caps, has made a success of his venture in France, regularly heading the scoring charts in the top 14 championship.

Llanelli, meanwhile, have promised to ban for life the fan who clashed with Jonah Lomu during Monday&#39;s game against Cardiff at Stradey. The former All Blacks wing was verbally abused. "I&#39;m shocked and disgusted by what I saw," Stuart Gallacher, Llanelli&#39;s chief executive, said.

The Neath-Swansea Ospreys have decided to appeal against the 10-week ban handed out to centre Gavin Henson for elbowing the Leicester prop Alex Moreno during last month&#39;s Heineken Cup game at Swansea.

Henson broke Moreno&#39;s nose in the first half during an ill-tempered match. Lock Ian Evans was suspended for eight weeks for kicking Harry Ellis, the Tigers scrum-half. The suspension rules Henson out of the opening three rounds of the Six Nations Championship. The appeal will be heard by a European Rugby Cup independent appeal committee.

Sale&#39;s director of rugby, Philippe Saint-Andre, pledged that his team can only get better even though Monday&#39;s 21-9 win over Bath took them back to the top of the Premiership. The Cheshire club are unbeaten in their Heineken Cup pool and almost certain to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

"The best is still to come," said Saint-Andre yesterday. "We are a young team and, for sure, the continuity and understanding can only improve. But we have grown up. The guys now believe that they can win each game. It comes from a good spirit. That is why it was important to get so many of them to renew contracts."

Sale&#39;s front-line players - fly-half Charlie Hodgson, wing Mark Cueto, prop Andrew Sheridan, No 8 Sebastien Chabal and flanker Jason White - have committed to the club for the foreseeable future. Centre Chris Mayor is expected to agree terms this week. Only centre Robert Todd, who may head to America, and prop Ben Coutts, who is experiencing difficulties with work permits, are unsure of their futures.

Saint-Andre has been delighted with the form, in particular of Hodgson, and said: "For me, he is the best fly-half in Europe. He has matured as a player more than even I expected."

Northampton have agreed two-year deals with their young centres Jon Clarke and Rhodri Davies.[/b]

ScumV
04-01-06, 08:55 AM
Jones is coming back to Wales as he is woried that playing abroad is likely to harm his RWC 07. His game has blossomed since moving to France ( I say France as no bugger can make up their mind what to call his team, Mont, Montferrand, Clermont Ferrand or Clermont Auvergne http://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif ) The last is the clubs new name as I understand it. Anyhow, this is the thing. He was a good player when at Llanelli, but his game was limited as he was told what plays to play two plays in advance, whereas at Mont, they basically make the first play, get the ball to him, and he decides how the play progresses.

The blues would be able to accommodate this style, but Gareth Jenkins the Llanelli Scarlets coach is a control freak and still calls the next two set pieces. I think this is a major factor to where he goes. As for The Cardiff Blues not being able to afford him http://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif Peter Thomas their benefactor sold his company Peters Pies a few years ago, he nad his family are very shrewd businesspeople, who recently sold Cardiff Wales Airport, with Peters share around 37 Million. So the answer to the question is yes, they can afford it.

Personally I would rather he stayed in France, as although the French can be ****ty, there is no way they can prevent him from playing in RWC, nor is there anyway they can overplay him anymore than he has been overplayed the last two seasons.

harrison2468
04-01-06, 11:36 AM
Is there a salary cap for CL teams?

DonBilly
04-01-06, 12:08 PM
Originally posted by harrison2468@Jan 4 2006, 12:36 PM
Is there a salary cap for CL teams?
Well I understand that in these provinces salaries are at least partly paid by the Unions so the salary cap may be useless.

ScumV
04-01-06, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by DonBilly+Jan 5 2006, 12:08 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (DonBilly @ Jan 5 2006, 12:08 AM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-harrison2468@Jan 4 2006, 12:36 PM
Is there a salary cap for CL teams?
Well I understand that in these provinces salaries are at least partly paid by the Unions so the salary cap may be useless. [/b]
The way it works is that the four Welsh regions get funded from the WRU. This season it is 1.8 million (give or take a few ). To give you an idea of how much the benefactors are spending, Peter Thomas (Cardiff Blues) loaned the club another 1.2 million this season.
The simple answer though is that NO there is no salary cap, but the WRU is trying to bring in central contracts for International players, the Regions however are fighting tooth and nail with some wanting it while others do not.

Symclaw
07-01-06, 02:28 PM
isnt there a limit on how much thye regions can spend though? Im sure i read it somewhere, and it would explain Real Tolouse.

SmokeyMonkey
07-01-06, 08:00 PM
He&#39;s apparantly re-joined the Scarlets.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_unio...lsh/4580480.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/welsh/4580480.stm)

ScumV
07-01-06, 08:00 PM
Nope they can spend what they like.

And it is now official, Steven Jones is going back to Stardey Pac (llanelli Scarlets) on a 3 year deal.

SaintsFan_Webby
07-01-06, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by SmokeyMonkey@Jan 7 2006, 09:00 PM
He&#39;s apparantly re-joined the Scarlets.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_unio...lsh/4580480.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/welsh/4580480.stm)
I must admit I&#39;m suprised at that. The Blues look to be developing very well, and Jones would probably fit well into their system. Almost seems like a step back returning to Llanelli.

An Tarbh
07-01-06, 09:47 PM
Don&#39;t think so, he&#39;s certainly a class above compared to Bowen and Hercus and Scarlets don&#39;t look that bad even with them there so with Jones back they should improve imesurably next season, could make the difference between them getting out of their pool in the HEC as well.

ScumV
07-01-06, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by SaintsFan_Webby+Jan 8 2006, 08:37 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (SaintsFan_Webby @ Jan 8 2006, 08:37 AM)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-SmokeyMonkey@Jan 7 2006, 09:00 PM
He&#39;s apparantly re-joined the Scarlets.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_unio...lsh/4580480.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/welsh/4580480.stm)
I must admit I&#39;m suprised at that. The Blues look to be developing very well, and Jones would probably fit well into their system. Almost seems like a step back returning to Llanelli. [/b]
The problem is that Nicky Robinson is the Welsh Back up outside half, and he is first choice at the Blues. Had Stephen gone to the Blues that would have resulted in our back up 10 being on the bench week in week out, which is absolutely no good for Welsh Rugby.

The Scarlets are building a very exciting set of Backs there with Daf James, Regan King & Mathew J Watkins at centre, Mark Jones, on the wing Barry Davies (who has just re-signed his contract) and Lee Byrne. Stephen will control the game fantastically, and I only hope that Gareth Jenkins will allow him to do it rather than control and force him to play the plays Gareth himself calls as Stephen recently commented on in an Interview to Midi Olympique. He said that at Mont he is allowed to do whatever he wants with the ball, while at Stradey he was told the two plays, and had to go with them.

Personaly I feel that a coach who does that is limiting his players to the ability of the coach, rather than giving them a free hand and tweaking their rough edges. It is a fine line between coaching a player, and simply creating a controlled robot.

loratadine
07-01-06, 10:32 PM
the scalerts look the best welsh region and siging stephen will do them wonders - they do lack a quality 10

Symclaw
08-01-06, 12:11 PM
yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeesssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Jonesy!

sorry i think i may have creamed my chinos.

Flamingo
08-01-06, 08:42 PM
I think a major factor in Steve&#39;s return to Strady is the fact that Dwayne Peel had signed an extension to his contract http://www.therugbyforum.com/forum/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif

DonBilly
17-01-06, 02:13 PM
Interesting article on Stephen&#39;s return:

<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE </div>
French lessons opened door to Grand Slam

Jan 17 2006

Andy Howell, Western Mail

WALES&#39; Grand Slam glory was only achieved because key personnel were playing abroad.

That&#39;s the astonishing message from South Africa wing Breyton Paulse, a Clermont Auvergne team-mate of Wales outside-half Stephen Jones.

Paulse&#39;s outspoken comments come after Wales coach Mike Ruddock and Scarlets counterpart Gareth Jenkins had both claimed that Jones&#39;s return home next season is a real boost for the game here.

Jones decided to head back to his former Stradey Park base at Llanelli last week, signing a three-year deal reportedly worth 200,000 per year.

Both Ruddock and Jenkins hailed the move as in the best interests of the player and Welsh rugby - but Paulse insists Wales benefit when stars like Jones and Toulouse&#39;s Gareth Thomas move abroad.

"Stephen has learnt really well during his time in France," said the 56-times capped Springboks winger explaining his reasoning on the issue.

"The couple of seasons he has had at Clermont have worked wonders for him.

"He&#39;s going back to Wales a better player and good luck to him because he&#39;s a really nice guy. He&#39;s also a true professional.

"Stephen has been a key player for Clermont and I think the way we play the game has suited him. He had to adapt to our open style and I think that was a main reason why Wales won the Six Nations last year.

"If he hadn&#39;t come to France I&#39;m not sure if they would have done it.

"He has learnt how to control and open up a game. He has improved such a lot tactically and has brought the ideas he has had instilled into him in France back to the Welsh team.

"You could see that in the style of play they adopted last season with him at No 10. It was very French."

Jones made an incredible impact in France during his inaugural campaign last season after joining from the Scarlets.

He was voted the best outside-half in the French Championship (ahead of France star Frederick Michalak) after guiding Clermont to a place in this season&#39;s Heineken Cup.

The 28-year-old finished last term as the second highest points scorer in France and ousted England superstar Jonny Wilkinson from the No 10 jersey during the British Lions series with New Zealand last summer.

"Clermont Auvergne have been superb to me," said the 51-times capped Jones, who scored 57 points during the Grand Slam campaign and was a master tactician behind the Welsh scrum.

"The French League is great and I hope to come back a better player.

"I have really enjoyed it in France. It&#39;s a different challenge and a different style of rugby that has helped me really.

"French rugby is quite unstructured and it does make you think on your feet and try to react to different situations.

"We just go out and play. A lot of people just look at me sometimes for direction."

Wales great Jonathan Davies also believes living and playing in France has aided Jones enormously in his quest to become one of the world&#39;s best No 10.

"Stephen was brave to go to France and he will come back a better player and a stronger person," predicted the former Welsh captain. "Whatever you say about the modern game, fly-half is still the key position and Stephen is world class."

And, in a comment that ties in with Paulse&#39;s assessment of the European game, Davies pointed out, "Wales&#39; players in France and England have all improved."

Apart from Thomas, who has become a Heineken Cup champion at Toulouse, Colin Charvis has knuckled down to the demands of professionalism at Newcastle and Mefin Davies has become a favourite of the notorious Shed at Gloucester.

On the eve of the 2006 Six Nations tournament and, in the wake of another disappointing Heineken Cup campaign, it is an issue that refuses to go away.

Does the comfort zone still exist in Wales? Are the training regimes as tough and demanding? Is the coaching good enough?

Does the Celtic League lack the intensity of the Guinness Premiership and French Championship? All these questions hang over Welsh rugby&#39;s head like a dark cloud.

Ruddock might want all his players back in Wales, but will he himself be missing out if he gets his way.

Page 2 - NO PLACE LIKE HOME:What they said about Jones

NO PLACE LIKE HOME:What they said about Jones

MIKE RUDDOCK - Wales coach

I want to see all our best players playing in Wales. I believe it is in their best interests.

In France he (Jones) would not have had the same period of rest, recovery and conditioning after the Lions tour that the Welsh-based players benefited from.

We have a good working relationship with the clubs outside Wales. But players can be caught in the middle, having to jump on planes after international matches, playing more games over a longer season.

There is only a certain amount of time a player can sustain that intensity.

GARETH JENKINS - Scarlets coach

The way rugby is now, if you don&#39;t look after yourself and understand that rest and recovery has to be a part of your yearly plan, you are not going to have longevity in the game.

In France, rest and recovery is not a factor. The players earn good money and they are expected to play themselves to death.

Coming home will give Stephen the environment that he needs for the next four or five years. It will extend his career.[/b]

loratadine
17-01-06, 03:19 PM
ive got to agree that its made th individual players better - but i dissagree that its the main reason we won the gs.

DonBilly
17-01-06, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by loratadine@Jan 17 2006, 04:19 PM
ive got to agree that its made th individual players better - but i dissagree that its the main reason we won the gs.
What do you mean? Better players don&#39;t make better teams?

loratadine
17-01-06, 03:40 PM
yes but there only 2 of the welsh squad that have benefited from playing in france - and two players dont make a team - so in my eyes thats not the main reason we won the gs.

Symclaw
17-01-06, 03:56 PM
It depends on the individual player. You cant just ship the whole squad all over the world. Some would thrive, others would get home sick