Welsh peace deal overdue says Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones

Alun Wyn Jones has won 80 caps for Wales and six for the British & Irish Lions
Alun Wyn Jones has won 80 caps for Wales and six for the British and Irish Lions

Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones has welcomed the news that the Welsh Rugby Union and its four regions are set to sign a new participation agreement.

The two sides have been without a binding deal since the previous one expired in June.

Wales and British and Irish Lions lock Jones hopes the players can now concentrate on the new season.

"Ultimately as players we've prepared as if it's a normal season and everything's rosy," Jones said.

"I do stress it's not been ideal and it's not a distraction, but all the same it will be nice to have it done because we've heard for the last 18 months, potentially two years, that this is going to be sorted.

"I commend both sides for doing so but it's just disappointing it's taken so long."

A new deal between the WRU and Cardiff Blues, Newport Gwent Dragons, Scarlets and Jones' own Ospreys is expected to be signed this week and the 28-year-old added jokingly: "Apparently there was white smoke coming out of the top of the Millennium Stadium, which bodes well!"

Jones, who has won 80 caps for Wales and six for the Lions, is one of nine players tipped to become dual-contracted under the proposed new deal.

Ospreys begin their season on Friday, 5 September at home to Treviso in the Guinness Pro12, while they will also face the Italians in the Champions Cup in October in a pool including Northampton and Racing Metro.

The Welsh side have seen senior players of the calibre of Richard Hibbard, Ian Evans and Ryan Jones - all Lions - leave for other clubs in the off-season.

Jones is hoping that players will emerge from within Ospreys to swell the ranks.

"[It is a] pretty big [hole], particularly in the pack. You also look at [fly-half] Matthew Morgan going which was one of our shining lights coming through," Jones said.

"Obviously he moved for probably different reasons that some of the other guys did, but they've all moved on and a lot has been said about the comings and goings.

"As a region, a group of players and personally we wish them the best, but we've got to move forward with the players that we've got and that's what we intend to do.

"The likes of Lloyd Peers, Tyler Ardron... these are guys putting their hands up in the squad.

"People like myself, Duncan [Jones] and other guys, Biggs [Dan Biggar], are going to try and grab a few by the scruff of the neck and bring them along with us."