Alun Wyn Jones: Young players leading Ospreys' effort

Alun Wyn Jones
Alun Wyn Jones has played six times for the British and Irish Lions
Guinness Pro12: Zebre v Ospreys
Venue: Stadio XXV Aprile, Parma Date Friday, 3 October Kick-off 19:35 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales, Red Button, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV; score updates on the BBC Sport website

Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones says his team's unbeaten start to the season is due to the form of the region's young players.

Unbeaten Ospreys are top of the Pro12 table after four wins and travel to Zebre in Scum V Live's game on Friday.

Jones says player like prop Nicky Smith, 20, and back row Dan Baker, 22, have become integral to the squad.

"They've accepted the mantle of responsibility that we feel we have in the jersey," said the second-row.

Dan Baker
Dan Baker has played for Aberavon, Swansea, Tonmawr and Ystradgynlais

"These guys were putting their hands up towards the end of last season.

"It's fun trying to keep up with them. We've got a pretty young squad who are chomping at the bit."

Prop Adam Jones, hooker Richard Hibbard lock Ian Evans and back-five veteran Ryan Jones were the experienced Wales and British and Irish Lions to leave in the summer along with fly-half Matthew Morgan.

Those departures prompted Scrum V pundits Sean Holley and Martyn Williams to predict the Ospreys would struggle this season.

Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones
"We actually train with a purpose now and that comes through in games, but we're definitely not getting carried away."

Williams and Holley tipped Cardiff Blues to be the top performing Welsh side, while former Wales fly-half Davies backed Scarlets.

Jones, 29, admits the Ospreys are "going to miss" those players, but believes the region's youngsters deserve more credit.

"A lot was said about who we haven't got and not who we have got," said the British and Irish Lion.

"Those guys that left achieved a lot in the Ospreys jersey and the young guys coming through have seen that."

Adam Jones and Richard Hibbard on the 2013 Lions tour
Adam Jones has joined Cardiff Blues and Richard Hibbard is at Gloucester

Ospreys beat Munster 19-14 last weekend. In contrast to Ospreys' form, Newport Gwent Dragons, Blues and Scarlets have each won just one game so far this season.

Jones, capped 80 times by Wales, believes the fresh atmosphere in the squad has made a difference.

"We actually train with a purpose now and that comes through in games, but we're definitely not getting carried away.

"There are still things like Six Nations, Autumn internationals - these are all hurdles we're going to face.

"We've got to go at it one game at a time."

Jones was speaking to former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies. You can watch the full interview on Scrum V Sunday, BBC Two Wales, from 18:15 BST on Sunday, 5 October as Jones discusses life away from rugby, banter, and playing the ukulele.

Nicky Smith
Nicky Smith has played for Aberavon, Swansea and Waunarlwydd

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