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Christmas Comes Early For Osprey Jones
12 December 2004, 11:19 am
"I suppose Christmas came early for me," admitted Ryan Jones, the Ospreys No 8 who was sent off in the Celtic League clash with Munster for an alleged stamp on lock Donncha O'Callagahan
Ryan Jones admitted Christmas had come early for him after he escaped a 12-week ban. The Wales and Ospreys No 8 had been bracing himself for a long suspension following his dismissal for an alleged stamp on Munster lock Donncha O'Callagahan in last Saturday's Celtic League top-of-the-table clash in Cork.

But a Welsh Rugby Union disciplinary committee deemed the red card handed out by Scottish referee Iain Ramage as punishment enough. It has left 23-year-old Jones free to prepare for a busy few months, starting with the crunch Boxing Day Celtic league derby against the Scarlets at the Gnoll.

And he is determined to make up for last weekend's misdemeanour which helped Munster battle out a 13-9 victory. "I suppose Christmas came early for me," admitted Jones, who made two starts for Wales in the autumn internationals. "Now I'm just looking forward to Sunday and putting it behind me. Because it's been a nightmare couple of days. The overriding emotion is just relief. You always fear the worst, because it can put a big black mark against your name. It could have ruined what was a dream start to the season so far.

"Up until Saturday I had enjoyed a memorable season and then it was a case of being absolutely heartbroken on Saturday night and Sunday morning. I think it's important to learn from it. I was extremely disappointed to get a red card, but the biggest disappointment for me was that the boys lost out in Munster because of me.

I have got to make it up to them over the Christmas period and I'm just glad I have got the opportunity to do it. I was adamant I hadn't broken the rules to that extent, nor had I done anything to get me a 12-week ban.

"I definitely did not stamp on his head, as was reported. I couldn't believe I was given a red card. I couldn't even believe it when he called me over to have a word."

Wales coach Mike Ruddock has already stepped in and told Jones that he won't tolerate indiscipline, just as he did with his Ospreys team-mate Jonathan Thomas when he was banned ahead of the autumn internationals.

And Jones has pledged never to get in a referee's bad books again. "It's been and gone now. I've just got to make sure I don't put myself in a position where it can happen again. When you are talking 12-week bans it would mean missing the Six Nations and the rest of Europe.

"It would have been an absolute nightmare and I couldn't comprehend that. I didn't know how the boys would react and that was my biggest fear afterwards that I had let them down".

Report courtesy Paul Abbandonato - The Western Mail).

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