Bristol lure Welsh star
Bristol lure Welsh starSHARE
Ryan Jones has confirmed that he has signed for Bristol, after reaching agreement with the Ospreys on the final year of his contract.
Jones, 33, will link up with his new teammates at the Memorial Stadium once the Ospreys' Pro12 commitments for the season are complete, after putting pen to paper on a two-year deal.
He will leave the Liberty Stadium with the best wishes of everybody at the Ospreys, having spent 10 years with the region since signing from Celtic Warriors in the summer of 2004.
Speaking about his move, Ryan said: "This has definitely been the toughest decision I've ever had to make, but it's one that I'm making for my family.
"I've had a fantastic 10 years with the Ospreys and will leave with so many good memories to treasure. I'm immensely proud of everything we've achieved as a group, with five trophies to look back on, and that success has enabled me to enjoy significant success at international level as well. It's truly been a fantastic journey.
"I've got so many good friends here, and I'm extremely grateful to all the teammates, coaches, management and directors at the Ospreys for their backing over the last 10 years.
"Most importantly of all, I'd like to say a very big thank you to the magnificent supporters at the Liberty Stadium who have always been fantastic to me.
"Swansea is my family home now. It's not just my wife and children who are here, but my parents and sister also live here. With only a year remaining on my contract at the Ospreys, this deal offers me longer-term security.
"There were a number of options available to me, but this move gives me that security and offers me a new challenge, while allowing me to stay in Ospreylia, which is my region. Before I move, I want to help the team towards the play-offs and, hopefully, a fifth league title in 10 years. Hopefully, I can use the momentum from this fresh challenge to enable me to continue my international career"
Jones made his Ospreys debut in a 34-17 win over Munster in Swansea on the opening weekend of the 2004/05 season, and now stands ninth in the region's all-time appearance list having pulled on the jersey 147 times.
His 20 tries is the seventh highest tally for the region. A part of a team that has won four Celtic League titles and one EDF Energy Cup, he was appointed captain in 2007, leading the region for three years and lifting the silverware at Twickenham after the Anglo-Welsh win over Leicester in 2008 and in Dublin two years later following the first Magners League Final.
Andy Lloyd, Rugby Operations Manager at the Ospreys, commented: "Ryan is a true Osprey and has been a wonderful ambassador for the region over the last 10 years. The legacy he leaves here is unquestionable. He has played a huge part in our success over the last 10 years and having played alongside him many times I've seen up close the pride he has always had in the jersey, and continues to have.
"Although he will be moving on at the end of the Pro12 season, there is no doubt that Ryan will continue to be a positive influence within the group as he aims to go out on a high. Obviously we are disappointed to lose someone with Ryan's qualities but we fully understand his need for longer term security than we are able to provide.
"The obvious restraints of the salary cap and the lack of central financial support means that tough decisions like this have to be made by both the Ospreys and individual players. Everybody at the region will join me in wishing Ryan and his family the very best for the future beyond this season, they know they will always be welcome back in our environment."