Speaking at the Launch session for the Cardiff 2020 Guinness PRO14 final former Ospreys and Wales lock Ryan Jones labelled Cardiff as ‘the best city for rugby in Europe’.
Robert Rees has Jones’ thoughts on the Cardiff final and all things Welsh rugby.
Regions inspired to reach Cardiff’s Guinness PRO14 final
Discussing the Cardiff City Stadium as a venue Jones explained, “Cardiff is the best rugby city in Europe. It’s going to come here and it’ll be massive.
“Fans love coming here, players like playing here. No matter who you speak to, this is one of the homes of rugby. Fans will come here because they’ll have a great time irrespective of nations.
“From a playing point of view you just want to be in the final no matter where it is. Undoubtedly having a home final would be special for the regions.”
“Getting the job done” in Cardiff
With no Welsh final in the history of the PRO14 and its previous guises it’s been a big step forward for Welsh rugby.
Talking on the job in hand Jones said, “For a professional sportsmen it’s about getting the job done whether it’s held in Cardiff or Dublin.
“They’ll know exactly what it takes, although grounds bring magic it’s essentially a patch of grass and you have to be professional.
“They’ll rock up and do a job. We [Ospreys] used to love going to Dublin as not only are you playing 15 Leinstermen, but 16,000 others who also wanted to beat you.
“That adds an edge but none of these stadiums hold a mystique any more. A lot of players would have played in them or been to them. Everyone loves playing in a final.”
Playing in the Cardiff City Stadium
Looking back to his playing career and his experiences at the CCS Jones explained, “It’ll be a fast surface. The standard of pitches these days are far superior than when I started.
“We’re no longer talking about the pitch affecting the performance.
“The surface should never impact on the performance of people who put in a lot of time and effort. It’s a great sporting arena, the players are catered for well on arrival.
“It’s a good sports arena – the bowl effect – I enjoyed playing there.”
With it’s bow-like effect it’ll b e great for fans in attendance, Jones added, “It’s a football stadium, it’s not meant to cater for anything other than a field based sport. The field is close to the stand and the players and fans will feel engaged.”
Welsh rugby in with a shot
Following on from the Rugby World Cup Jones explained, “It’ll be about starting well this year. We’ve got a lot of coaching changes amongst the regions.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Dean Ryan gets on, Brad Mooar at the Scarlets.
“John [Mulvihill] is a bit more established at the Blues and the Ospreys, after an interesting year last year are looking to set the record straight.
“From a rugby and business point of view everyone knows where they are.”
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