DRAGONS duo Richard Hibbard and Ian Evans know from experience about the ability of Alun Wyn Jones to drag those around him up to his standards, so they hope Wales' talisman enjoys a well-deserved rest this weekend.

The lock returns to regional duty with the Ospreys this week after leading the way to a Grand Slam, his third after enjoying Six Nations clean sweeps in 2008 and 2012.

The 33-year-old is in the running for player of the tournament and is fresh from an incredible performance in the clincher against Ireland, when he brushed off an early blow to his knee to play with trademark physicality, class, brains and leadership.

South Wales Argus:

Jones is a man that adopts the same approach for games with the Ospreys as he does those for his country, and the recent turmoil at the Liberty Stadium means he will be keen to feature in the Guinness PRO14 on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Dragons are the visitors in Swansea for the first game since the aborted merger with the Scarlets.

It promises to be a raucous occasion with the Ospreys keen to make a statement and their big guns likely to feature, fitness permitting.

The Swansea side have a strong squad but the Dragons' chances certainly wouldn't be harmed by Jones being given a week off after his Six Nations exertions.

South Wales Argus:

"He is definitely Wales' all-time best player," said hooker Hibbard, who played with the lock for the Ospreys, Wales and the Lions. "He is never lower than a 9/10 in any game he plays.

"He is a phenomenal leader who leads by example from the front. For someone playing with him, it's easy to follow that.

"You want to perform with Al, otherwise you get that death-stare! You don't want that! He leads by example and you want to emulate him."

Forwards coach Ian Evans, who retired in 2017 because of a knee injury, was Jones' second row partner for club and country.

The 34-year-old joined Hibbard in lauding his former teammate for his exploits on and off the field.

South Wales Argus:

"Alun Wyn, there is not a lot he hasn't done. His leadership is unbelievable and his clear messages to the team gives them a lot of confidence," said Evans.

"He is a player that never rests on his laurels, feeling happy where he is. He is probably the last one off the paddock and then will be in there reviewing his game and his training sessions. The game of rugby keeps moving and if you stop then it goes past you.

"He has always been a leader and when I was playing with him, what you respect is that he dragged the team with him. In the training week he is focused and you have to follow him – everybody backs him up."

Jones leads Wales but he is no longer captain at the Liberty Stadium, an honour that goes to his fellow Test star Justin Tipuric.

"Tips is a silent man but everything he does on the field is pretty decent! He is always performing and is a class act," said Evans. "I was lucky enough to play with him rather than against him, because he is a nuisance.

"They are class players but the Ospreys had a fully-loaded team at Rodney Parade and we matched them."

The Dragons triumphed 23-22 when the teams met in December and haven't doubled a regional rival since 2010/11 when the Ospreys were their victims.

That year a Taulupe Faletau-inspired side won 21-16 at the Liberty Stadium - the region's only win in Swansea - and 32-28 in Newport.