Sam Jones confirmed his retirement from rugby at the tender age of 26 at the end of March due to an injury he picked up at England training camp.
Jones suffered the injury in England camp at the beginning of the 2017/17 season, just one day after he played for Wasps in a one-sided victory over Harlequins on October 2, 2016.
That game was the last Jones ever played in and the next day, he suffered a devastating lower-limb injury in judo training at an England camp in Brighton.
Jones dislocated his ankle and it caused further damage, including a fracture of the fibular bone, disruption of the ligaments joining the main bones of the ankle, a rupture of the medial ligament plus significant damage to ankle cartilage.
Jones worked his way through the various England age-grades before lining out alongside Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Dan Robson at the 2011 under-20 World Cup final. He then earned selection for the England Saxons in the next few years before being called up to the senior side in 2016.
Since making a statement at the time of the retirement announcement, Jones gave an interview in Wasps’ matchday programme at the weekend where he outlined he felt guilty for not being more transparent about the injury.
“I feel guilty that I haven’t been able to be more transparent about my injury.”
The injury occurred while partnering up with Maro Itoje in the judo exercise and Jones says he doesn’t blame the England star.
“Maro Itoje has texted me several times throughout the process. I don’t blame him at all.”
He also reveals that he has no bitterness over what happened even though you could hardly blame him for doing so.
“There isn’t any [bitterness]. I’m lucky to have experienced what I did. You play the hand you are dealt and you get on with life.”
But what Jones did say about the incident that it was designed by Eddie Jones to take players out of their comfort zone and it unfortunately for Sam Jones, it did that.
“The intensity of the environment is geared to take you out of your comfort zone at all costs and at that time it was working. I suppose that’s what happened — I was out of my comfort zone and that was the aim. These things happen.”
Owen Slot, writing in The Times, also mentions that the day after a game should normally be used for rest and it’s claimed that Sam Jones wasn’t present for the same safety guidance the other players received because they were in camp earlier than he was.
Regardless, it’s a very sad way for such a promising career to end and hopefully, Jones can get over the disappointment and prosper in the future.