English clubs target Steffan Jones
FLY-HALF Steffan Jones will make his first start for Newport Gwent Dragons in two months in Bayonne tomorrow evening amid talk of him leaving the region for England.
The 22-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and is attracting interest from a number of clubs over the border.
The Argus understands that London Welsh have been monitoring the Bargoed product, potentially with view to a loan move, after he fell out of favour with the Dragons.
He has fallen down the pecking order with Dan Evans, who has impressed following his move from full-back to fly-half, and Lewis Robling picked ahead of him. Despite Evans being out with an ankle problem, Jones was not involved against Connacht last weekend with centre Ashley Smith acting as the back-up 10.
Jones has not played for the region since the LV= Cup defeat at Bath on November 10 while his last start in a frontline competition was the loss to the Scarlets on October 5.
However, he will be given the start in the south of France tomorrow and has been urged to grasp his chance after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
“Steffan is a talented 10 and it’s up to him to respond to the chance that is coming his way in Bayonne,” said head coach Darren Edwards.
“I know he has been desperate to play and I look forward to seeing how he goes out there. If he responds to the challenge then he will keep his place.”
London Welsh, who are exceeding expectations by sitting 10 points clear of the Aviva Premiership relegation spot, currently have three fly-halves on their books – Gavin Henson, Gordon Ross and Ryan Davies.
This time last year the Dragons let fly-half Matthew Jones go so that he could join Bristol and last week the region released Joe Bedford from his contract early with the scrum-half penning a deal with Doncaster.
But the chances of Jones, who has been getting game time with Cross Keys in the last month, being released would appear slim given that Evans and Robling are the only other recognised 10s at Rodney Parade.