Rugby: Quick-starting Lee trying hard to keep on scoresheet

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LEE JONES, the 23-year-old Edinburgh Rugby winger, could scarcely have timed it better in getting into his try- scoring stride as a Rabo Direct Pro 12 league clash with reigning European champions Leinster looms at Murrayfield.

It was mid-February and eight appearances into a 2010-11 debut season that the former Selkirk ace notched his maiden league try, away to Newport Gwent Dragons.

This time round, the ever-present Jones is off the mark six matches in – and what a try it was, too, at Llanelli Scarlets last time out.

The official report eloquently summed up the score: “Jones’ expert solo effort brought Edinburgh back into the contest, beating three defenders from inside his own half for a well-taken try.”

Another commentator noted: “Anyone lucky enough to see the try got a lovely example of how a wing can bamboozle defenders by threatening a light-footed change of direction. ‘Is he going in – is he going out?’, the defender asks, and, before he finds the answer, he’s been left stranded, looking foolish.”

At a time when the national side is crying out for such clinical finishing skills Jones is entitled to feel optimistic about what lies ahead for him.

Typically, he is not looking past maintaining a 100 per cent involvement (including one outing off the bench) in Edinburgh’s season when Leinster come calling on Friday week.

“That’s me on the try board quicker than last year and hopefully that has got the ball rolling for me because playing on the wing you need to score tries,” he says.

As Jones weaved in and out of the Scarlets defence for what could well end up a contender for try of the season it was easy to see why the Scottish Rugby Union awarded a two-year contract extension last March.

Jones may appear relatively slightly built but he’s a few inches taller and 6kg heavier than Welsh wing wizard Shane Williams and at A international level he has already shown an eye for a gap.

One of three players to start each of Scotland A’s three fixtures last season – all won – Jones had a try brace in the 25-0 victory over the USA and confidence developed in those outings may have contributed to that latest touchdown.

“It was satisfying to be involved with Scotland A and putting together a string of games was a great experience. I certainly brought confidence gained there back to Edinburgh.

“Overall I’ve learned a lot that can come forward from my first pro season. You know a bit more about the teams to be faced but Leinster will be a new one for me having missed the two games last season [while on Commonwealth sevens duty].

“To play European champions is going to be big.

“Part of this week is being spent taking stock of the first part of the season including how in the home win over Munster we managed to set a standard that must be maintained.

“I enjoyed the try at Llanelli where there was a bit of space on the blindside and I managed to get round the outside defender.

“The rest kind of came naturally and I tried not to think about it too much.

“But in the context of the game it was disappointing because we didn’t win.

“By comparison the Munster game proved the high level we can reach. We really clicked, but it is about consistency.”

Jones also makes clear that the Leinster fixture and a trip to Treviso a week later offer the chance of a springboard into the Heineken European Cup, which starts at London Irish on Saturday, November 12.

Three times last season Jones turned out in that competition when he faced Cardiff and also Castres home and away.

In Europe he has a strike rate of one try from three appearances; something similar over the next few weeks could maybe see him edge ever closer to national coach Andy Robinson’s squad for the Six Nations.

Read what you like into Jones’ remark about not really knowing how he got himself through for his latest try; to many that throwaway remark might just be a clue to a real, instinctive, flair capable of solving Scotland’s try-scoring problems.