While Jones has shown up well in his replacement appearances, making a big impact off the bench, the outstanding form of Jonathan Thomas in the number eight jersey in his absence had made it difficult for the coaches to leave him out of the XV.
As Director of Coaching, Johnson explained, "form dictates that both players should be in the starting line-up, but the short turnaround between games means that Ospreys will be best served by Jones slotting into the second row, a position that Thomas himself filled throughout last season.
"The reasons behind the selection are twofold" said Johnson "JT has started the year at eight as Ryan was unavailable for a period of time. He was asked to fill the void because of Ryan's injury and in fairness to him he has done exceptionally well.
"Saying that, we've certainly missed Ryan's contributions so we wanted him in the team. We feel that balancing that one change, rather than the two it would be if they swapped positions, is better for the team given the short turnaround and preparation time for the week.
"We needed Ryan's effectiveness and his work-rate, the team needed that, but it's too complicated to start moving everyone around. We are very happy with JT, and Ryan was happy to do that for the team.
"Ryan is a great team man, he has no issue at all with doing this for the team, which is exactly the kind of response we expected from him. They were both told the situation at the same time, we explained the logic to them and there were no issues.
"I promised JT at the start of the season that once a bloke gets the shirt, it's up to the others to get it off him, and we are supporting his form as a coaching team. At the same time, we are acknowledging the work that Ryan has done, and the work that we've missed.
"Ryan has played there before, and I genuinely believe that after the World Cup we'll probably see a bit more of him there. He's such a brave and industrious player, the way the game is going he will give us a competitive edge, and we wanted as many good athletes out on the pitch as we can."
Ospreys 15 Lee Byrne 14 Tommy Bowe 13 Andrew Bishop 12 James Hook 11 Shane Williams 10 Dan Biggar 9 Mike Phillips; 1 Paul James 2 Richard Hibbard 3 Adam Jones 4 Ryan Jones 5 Alun Wyn Jones (Capt) 6 Jerry Collins 7 Marty Holah 8 Jonathan Thomas
Replacements 16 Huw Bennett 17 Ryan Bevington 18 Craig Mitchell 19 Ian Gough 20 Justin Tipuric 21 Jamie Nutbrown 22 Gareth Owen 23 Nikki Walker