Stalemate prompted Cardiff move, says Jones

AFP
Wales rugby prop Adam Jones warms up during a training session on June 12, 2014 in Durban, South Africa
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Wales rugby prop Adam Jones warms up during a training session on June 12, 2014 in Durban, South Africa (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

London (AFP) - Wales prop Adam Jones has pointed to the stalemate between the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four Welsh regions as the reason behind his decision to leave the Ospreys.

The 33-year-old tighthead joined Cardiff Blues on Tuesday after his talks with the Ospreys over a new deal were held up by the ongoing dispute between the WRU and the Welsh clubs over a new participation agreement.

It ended an 11-year association with the Ospreys for Jones, who explained his reasons for leaving in an open letter to the club's supporters published by the South Wales Evening Post on Wednesday.

"As pretty much the whole world and his wife will know by now, I had been waiting for a deal to be struck between the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union over a new participation agreement so the Ospreys could conclude a fresh contract with me," Jones said.

"I haven't been getting any money, but I was just hoping that the row that has blighted Welsh rugby for so long could be finally settled and I could pull on the black shirt again.

"Then on Sunday morning I received a call from the Blues asking whether I fancied a move there. I had to think long and hard about their proposal because I know all about regional rivalry and how much it matters in Wales.

"But my circumstances were such that I didn't feel I could turn Cardiff down. I haven't been paid for two months and the season is barely a fortnight away. I need to be properly attached to a team and training with a group of players in readiness for the new campaign."

He added: "I couldn't wait forever. The contract with the Ospreys has been on the table since January, but without signatures it meant only so much.

"No-one is to blame. Andrew Hore (Ospreys chief executive) and Steve Tandy (head coach) have been straight down the line with me throughout the negotiations. They haven't messed me about and I don't think I have messed anyone about either."

The Ospreys had reacted to news of Jones's departure on Tuesday by releasing a statement in which they said they were "disappointed" by the outcome.

Jones has won 95 Wales caps since making his international debut in 2003 and was a member of the team that won the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005, 2008 and 2013.

He was also part of the British and Irish Lions squad that triumphed in Australia last year.