Updated: Friday, 17th November 2017 @ 12:59pm

Stand-in skipper Ryan Jones: 'I'd even play at scrum half to get in Wales squad'

Stand-in skipper Ryan Jones: 'I'd even play at scrum half to get in Wales squad'

By Charlie Talbot-Smith, Sportsbeat

Stand-in skipper and utility-forward Ryan Jones insists he would even play at scrum-half for Wales if asked by Warren Gatland; such is his burning desire to start as many games for his country as possible.

Jones, 30, started this year’s Six Nations at blindside flanker against Ireland, but after the suspension of Bradley Davies he moved forward to pack down at second row in the boiler-room against the Scots.

But after being forced to watch on from the substitutes’ bench for the majority of Wales’ mesmerising run to the World Cup semi-finals in the autumn, the versatile Ospreys forward is glad of the game time, wherever it comes.

Davies will miss the rest of the Six Nations after his dangerous tackle on Donnacha Ryan and with Luke Charteris and Alun Wyn Jones both struggling with injuries, Jones could be required to continue helping out in the second row.

And while admitting to being somewhat out of his comfort zone in the scrum’s engine room after winning all but one of his 63 caps in the back-row, the 30-year-old welcomes the challenge of learning a new position.

“It’s hard to say if my versatility is a blessing or a curse,” he said. “It’s a blessing if you're picked and are playing and a curse if you're not.

“That may sound obvious to say but at the end of the day I just enjoy playing the game of rugby.

“I don’t play the game for those Tuesday training sessions in the wet and the cold; it’s for the chance to run out on a Saturday in the big games, that’s what it’s all about.

“Before this year I’d only played lock for Wales once before, against the Barbarians so to all intents and purposes the games against Scotland and Ireland were my debut there.

“I actually really enjoyed it, but then you always enjoy a game of rugby when you win but I certainly had my fair share of bumps and bruises after the game.

“Now it’s a case of upwards and onwards, if I’ve got a job to do for the team then I will always do it to the best of my abilities.”

And with competition in the Welsh back-row as strong as it has ever been with Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton and Toby Faletau epitomising the new dawn in Welsh rugby, Jones will take his chances wherever he can get them.

“A back-row player is what I have always been but in these sorts of scenarios my versatility becomes a real asset,” he added.

“If I can cover a lot of different positions then that can only be a good thing as it will get me selected for more games.

“There are so many talented young players in the back-row and indeed all across the pitch for Wales so competition is always going to be high so you have to keep fighting for your place.”

Ryan Jones is a brand ambassador for SWALEC. To check out Ryan going head to head against England’s star flanker Tom Croft in a series of three video challenges, head to www.swalec.co,uk/rugby and see who wins!