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Welsh Rugby
Johnson: I will fight to keep Jones
ESPNscrum Staff
December 22, 2011
Ospreys prop Adam Jones shouts instructions, Ospreys v Biarritz, Heineken Cup, Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Wales, November 12, 2011
The Ospreys face a fight to keep hold of Jones © Getty Images
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Ospreys boss Scott Johnson is hopeful of tying down prop Adam Jones on a new contract despite overtures from France.

The British & Irish Lions Test prop is courting interest from across the Channel and also from Bruce Craig's Bath. And with the likes of Gethin Jenkins and Luke Charteris also pondering moves overseas, the Welsh Rugby Union is set to see several of their stellar names plying their trade away from Wales. But Johnson is hopeful that the prop will stay at the Liberty Stadium despite interest from elsewhere.

"We don't want to lose Adam Jones," Johnson told Wales Online. "He is in the prime of his rugby career and we have a dearth of tighthead props, which was shown by the recent Wales match against Australia.

"It would make no sense for Wales to lose your best tighthead because of something which you can't control. You would not like to see him miss a Test match outside the window because he's playing in France.

"We are happy with our discussions with Adam, but it comes at a cost. I have a personal and private opinion about that and I have expressed to the board what I think is best for the region and Adam Jones.

"We are close to getting somewhere with that."

And following the introduction of a £3.5m salary cap for Wales' regions this week, Johnson believes the cap will prove beneficial in the long-term. "In this country I've been through two really big changes in the game," he said. "One was regionalisation, which was massive and I'm privileged to have seen the spawning of that. It's fantastic.

"I think this (the cap) is the next big thing in the game, I really do. I think it's a massive change in the evolution. We, as a region and as Welsh people, can ill-afford our premier athletes in the prime of their careers to be playing outside our boundaries. The reason being we need control."

Meanwhile the future over the Blues' Test prop Jenkins is showing no signs of becoming clearer. When asked whether there had been any developments over the prop's future in a press conference yesterday, Blues coach Gareth Baber responded simply "No". And when prompted over whether the Blues had offered Jenkins a new deal he responded: "That's between him and the board."

Jenkins is reportedly courting interest from James Hook's Perpignan and, like Jones, Bath.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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