THERE was an easiness in Huw Jones’ demeanour during Friday night’s post-match media briefing which has not been readily evident during the last two years, and it was not just because of the role he had played during the previous hour-and-a-half helping his team secure a morale-boosting 15-3 win over arch-rivals Edinburgh.

Having tumbled down the pecking order for both club and country since his two-try heroics against England in 2018, Jones made the bold decision over the summer to change position from outside-centre to full-back, and the early signs are encouraging. He now has two generally assured performances against Edinburgh (despite an early yellow card on Friday night) under his belt, confirming in his own and his coach’s mind that this is an experiment worth persevering with.

“I feel like every coach I’ve ever had has said to me ‘oh, you could be good at 15’ but never actually tried me there, so Danny [Wilson] has actually gone for it and these first two games have gone pretty well,” he said. “Obviously, with Edinburgh you expect a lot of kicking, so I got my head around that and prepared to get up for those high balls. I think it went pretty well, although I’d obviously like to see more of the ball in attack, but I think it’s been a long lockdown and both teams are a bit rusty so the attack wasn’t quite there. With the new breakdown laws as well, we weren’t really holding on to the ball for long enough.

“I spoke to Danny after the first game and he asked if I was keen to stay there [at full-back] and I told him that as long as I’m on the field, I’m happy. So yes, going into the new season I’d be really happy to stay there.”

Full-back can be an isolated position but Jones rejects the suggestion that there is any extra pressure there than when he is in the No.13 jersey.

“You’ve got a big channel to defend at 13 and multiple runners coming at you a lot of the time,” he said. “If I’m honest, these last two games I’ve felt pretty relaxed at 15 on defence. As long as you know your role it’s pretty simple – you’re either waiting for the kick or taking the last man. I think 15s often make it sound harder than it is!

“I think the game has changed a bit. When I first started playing 13 earlier in my career, it was an attacking position where you were looking to get on the ball. That’s slightly changed with certain teams and coaches where 13 is now the defensive leader. If I’m coming under scrutiny then I’m maybe not the defensive leader. I like to think I can defend pretty well, but 15 at the moment, with the way the game is going, probably suits my attributes a bit more. But I’d like to think I can do a job in both positions.”

This positional switch perhaps makes sense at club level – where there is an abundance of midfielders and a lack of full-backs – but with Stuart Hogg an absolute shoo-in at 15 for Scotland, Jones recognises that his best chance of nailing down a place in the national team is if Gregor Townsend continues to consider him in his old position.

“Whether he sees me as a 15 or a 13, or someone who can cover both, that’s up to him,” said Jones. “I think he knows what I can do in the centre.

“With the training we do, with the unit sessions where you’re swapping in and out, I do plenty of 13 and I do plenty of 15. I probably fall into that bracket of utility back at the moment that could slot in anywhere. Going into a Scotland camp, if selected, and they told me ‘look, you’ve been selected to be a 13’ I’d obviously be doing most of my training at 13 so I’d be prepared for that situation. And vice versa if I was told I was training as a 15. I wouldn’t be worried about that.

“There’s still competition at 15 at Glasgow, but if I can hold down that position and get regular game time then the confidence will come back and I’ll see much better performances.”

This might be new ground for Jones, but at least he knows where he stands now. There is a subtle change in the tone of his language, with the focus turned back towards his own role in showing what he is capable of, rather than hoping that others can see his value and give him a chance to shine.

A change is as good as a break. Jones has had the benefit of both during the last five months, and it has helped him take his destiny back into his own hands.