Former Wales captain Ryan Jones to join Bristol

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones has joined English second tier Rugby club Bristol on a two year contract.

The 33-year-old will join Bristol, pushing for promotion to England’s elite Premiership, once his Celtic League commitments with Welsh regional side the Ospreys this season are over.

It is a significant signing for south-west side Bristol, looking to recapture their glory days in the amateur era of the 1960s and 1970s when they were one of the leading clubs in England.

Back-row forward Jones has won 75 caps, captained Wales more times than any other player and been a member of three Grand Slam-winning sides as well as appearing in three British and Irish Lions Tests.

“Ryan’s arrival indicates the ambition that Bristol Rugby has, and the quality of players we are capable of attracting,” Bristol rugby director Andy Robinson told the club’s website.

“To captain your country a record number of times and to play for the British and Irish Lions is no mean feat,” the former England and Scotland coach added.

“What Ryan has achieved in his career so far is remarkable.

“His influence — on and off the field — will be significant for us, both during the play-offs this season and next. Ryan is hungry to help Bristol move forward and drive our progress.”

Jones has spent 10 years with the Ospreys, joining them from now disbanded Welsh rivals Celtic Warriors in 2004.

He captained the Swansea-based Ospreys for three years and has enjoyed domestic league and cup triumphs with the club.

“This has definitely been the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make, but it’s one that I am making for my family,” Jones said.

“I’ve had a fantastic 10 years with the Ospreys and will leave with so many good memories to treasure.”

Bristol currently lead the Championship by three points from London Welsh, with the top four clubs qualifying for play-offs in May as they bid for promotion to the Premiership.

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