Alun Wyn Jones 'man with everything' says Ospreys' Baker

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Alun Wyn Jones gets to grips with Dorian Jones during Ospreys' January 2016 win against Dragons
Alun Wyn Jones gets to grips with Dorian Jones during Ospreys' January 2016 win against Dragons

Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones has been called "the man with everything" as efforts continue to try to keep him in Wales.

The lock's national dual contract ends in summer 2016 and he is reportedly a target for French clubs, including European champions Toulon.

But it is looking increasingly likely Jones will extend his current deal.

"The guy's incredible, one of the best second rows you could ever play with," said Ospreys team-mate Dan Baker.

Jones became a national dual-contracted player in March, 2015.

Wales' dual-contracted players
Cardiff Blues: Sam Warburton, flanker & Wales captain, Gareth Anscombe, utility back.
Ospreys: Alun Wyn Jones, lock; Dan Biggar, fly-half; Dan Lydiate, flanker; Rhys Webb, scrum-half; Scott Baldwin, hooker; James King, back-five; Rory Thornton, lock; Dan Baker, number eight.
Scarlets: Jake Ball, lock; Scott Williams, centre; Samson Lee, prop; Rhodri Jones, prop; Jonathan Davies, centre (from 2016-17)
Newport Gwent Dragons: Tyler Morgan, centre; Hallam Amos, wing/full-back.

The Welsh Rugby Union pays 60% of the wages of players on such deals and their region the rest.

Ospreys and Wales half-backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb have already extended their national dual contracts (NDCs).

Three-times capped Baker is also on an NDC and hopes Jones stays at the Swansea-based team.

"I think he has got pretty much everything - his work-rate around the park and in training, the way he conducts himself, everything he does," said Baker.

Dan Baker
Dan Baker made his Wales debut on tour to Japan in 2013

"He is quite intimidating, it depends what kind of mood he's in," joked Baker.

"You'd much rather play with him that against him."

Regional forwards coach Chris Gibbes believes Jones is still improving even though he has won 94 Wales caps and six for the British and Irish Lions over two tours.

"I think Al's in very good form, he's pretty clear about the areas he's trying to work on - the soft touches in his handling game, sticking with his tackles, those are things he keeps working on," said Gibbes.

"But his energy and work-rate are pretty awesome. His catch and pass game is coming on, he's a bit more of an attacking threat and you see him on the ball a lot more now."

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Baker, 23, faces his own battle to regain top form before the Six Nations squad selection and admits he may be suffering from "second season syndrome" after being a surprise omission from the World Cup, where he was expected to understudy Taulupe Faletau.

"I think my form has dropped compared with last season to be honest with you, I think I made a lot more line-breaks.

"But I need to keep on improving different aspects of my game and not only the ball-carrying.

"I was massively gutted about the World Cup, I played against Ireland (in the Millennium Stadium friendly) and it was probably one of the worst games I've played."

Baker could come up against Ireland and Lions number eight Jamie Heaslip in Friday's Scrum V Live Pro12 encounter at the Liberty Stadium.

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