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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 18 February, 2019

Wasps flanker forced to retire aged 26 after judo injury while training with England

Sam Jones underwent a series of operations in an attempt to resume his playing career.

Image: David Rogers/Getty Images

WASPS FLANKER SAM Jones has been forced to retire on medical advice at the age of 26, the rugby club has announced.

Jones failed to recover from an ankle dislocation he sustained during a judo training session at an England training camp in Brighton ahead of the 2016 autumn international series.

BBC Sport reported at the time of the incident that Jones was grappling with Maro Itoje in training when the injury occurred.

The injury caused significant additional 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 underwent a series of operations in an attempt to resume his playing career, but after several abortive attempts, he has been forced to call time on his career.

The back-rower came through the Wasps’ academy and represented England at under 16 and U18 level, before making his senior debut against Newport Gwent Dragons in December 2010.

He appeared in the 2011 U20 World Cup final and played with England Saxons before getting the call-up to the senior squad in 2016.

Speaking about Jones’ early retirement, Director of rugby Dai Young said:

“It’s awful news. Being a Director of Rugby for 16 years, unfortunately it’s not the first time I’ve known a player retire through an injury, but Sam’s situation has really hit me hard.

“When I came into the club we had a lot of retirements and injuries. We needed someone to step up and lead from the front and Sam Jones was that man. He was only a young man, but was someone I could rely on – he’s been a rock for me throughout my tenure at Wasps.

“Not only is he a fantastic rugby player, but he is a fantastic bloke as well. His maturity and work ethic on the field shone off it as well.

“His physicality in everything he did on the field really stood out. He was destined to be a Wasps legend and a club captain and I’m sure those things would have led to many England caps.

“Whatever Sam turns his hand to, I’m sure he will make a success of it. Hopefully he’s not going to be a stranger and we will see plenty of him – in the meantime I’d like to thank him for all the support he’s given me and wish him all the best for his future.”

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