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Stephen Michael Jones (born 8 December 1977 in Aberystwythmarker) is a Welsh rugby union footballer who plays at for Llanelli Scarlets and Wales. He has also played at on various occasions. Jones is currently 10th in the international all-time List of leading Rugby union Test point scorers.

Club career

Llanelli RFC

Jones joined Llanelli RFC in 1996, staying there until the 2003–04 season. He played his last Welsh club season for the Llanelli Scarlets, the Llanellimarker side in the new Welsh regional setup. In his Welsh top-level career, he made more than 200 appearances and scored almost 2,000 points.

Clermont Auvergne

In 2004, he joined Clermont Auvergne, formerly known as Montferrand. After two years at Clermont he returned to play for the Scarlets in 2006.

He has had a successful club career both with Clermont Auvergne and the Llanelli Scarlets. At the former he was chosen by French journalists as the fly half of the season in his second year at the club. Now back at the Scarlets, Jones and the team had an excellent run in the Heineken Cup in 2007 and reached the semi-finals after wins home and away against Ulster and Toulouse, and a comfortable home victory against 2006 winners Munster in the quarter finals. The Scarlets ultimately came unstuck against Leicester in the semi final.

Scarlets

Stephen Jones has ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year contract with the Scarlets. He had been heavily linked with a move to French club Biarritz after triggering a clause in his contract allowing him to talk to other clubs.

Representative career

Wales

Jones made his international debut for Wales in 1998 against South Africa. He is the second highest points scorer for Wales.

Jones played a prominent role in Wales' grand slam triumph of 2005. As Welsh fly half he scored the majority of the team's points, his best game being the victory in Paris in which he scored 14 points including a drop goal and made a searing 60 metre break which led to Martyn Williams' first try. In the championship decider against Ireland at the Millennium Stadium he scored another 19 points and steered Wales to their first Grand slam for 27 years. He was later named fly-half of the championship for 2005.

In October 2006 head coach Gareth Jenkins named Jones as captain to lead Wales through to the 2007 World Cup. On his appointment of Jones, Jenkins said "Stephen has all the attributes to make a magnificent captain of his country. He has the respect and regard of his players, leadership qualities that are evident for all to see and the talent and ability to lead from the front at game time".

In the 2008 RBS Six Nations, Stephen Jones made four appearances in his second Grand Slam championship win with Wales. He scored seven conversions and ten penalties, adding up to 44 points, despite starting the tournament as second choice to James Hook.

In the 2009 RBS Six Nations, Stephen Jones made five appearances in the competition with Wales. A improvement to the previous year's competition he proved to be the in form player, cementing his place as the first choice No. 10 for Wales. This form aided his selection in the 2009 British and Irish Lions squad, starting every test and breaking the Lions record for most points scored against South Africa in the second test.

British and Irish Lions

He was selected for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Although Jones was the on-form fly-half, the Head Coach, Sir Clive Woodward selected the barely match fit Jonny Wilkinson ahead of him. Many people in the Rugby world saw this as the wrong decision and many believed that Jonny Wilkinson should not even tour, let alone play, as at the time he had only recently recovered from a serious injury.

On 21st April 2009 he was named as part of the 2009 British & Irish Lions Tour of South Africa. He played a major part in both of Wales’ Grand Slam victories in 2005 and 2008. In 2008 he scored a total of 44 points in the campaign and in 2009 he again played in all five of Wales’ 6 Nations matches. During 2009 he cemented his place as Wales first choice No.10 earning his place in the Lions squad.

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