Wasps’ Sam Jones forced to retire from injuries sustained in judo session
26-year-old forward suffered injuries while wrestling Maro Itoje during England training
Wasps forward Sam Jones has been forced to retire from the game at 26 after suffering leg, knee and ankle injuries while wrestling with Maro Itoje at an England training session. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
Sam Jones has been forced to retire after Wasps confirmed an horrific multiple injury sustained while performing judo on England duty has failed to heal.
Jones suffered an ankle dislocation, a fracture of the fibular bone, a rupture of the medial ligament and significant damage to ankle cartilage during a training camp held in Brighton in the build-up to the 2016 autumn series.
The uncapped 26-year-old, who incurred the injury while wrestling with Maro Itoje, has been unable to play since and – having undergone a number of operations – has been advised to hang up his boots.
“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,” Wasps boss Dai Young said.
“He’s someone I could rely on and has 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.
Never nice to see anyone retire through injury but it's much worse when it's a close friend. Destined to be Club Captain at Wasps & win dozens upon dozens of English Caps. The toughest player I've played with & against. Can't wait to see you excel in whatever you do next Jonesy! pic.twitter.com/QiNfUZyMxT— Brendan Macken (@brendan_macken) March 29, 2018
“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.”
Jones represented England from under-16 to Saxons levels having worked his way through the Wasps academy, making his club debut in 2010 and going on to accumulate 118 first-team appearances.
“Unfortunately, the injury was a complicated one and my rehab wasn’t progressing the way we wanted, with multiple set-backs along the way,” Jones said.
“I’ve therefore reluctantly had to listen to medical advice and retire from rugby. The decision was made for me, which was tough to hear. But it’s a decision that I understand is in my best interests.
“For me, getting selected for England based on my club form was a huge achievement and I’m proud that was my last contribution to the game.”
Former Leinster centre Brendan Macken was among Jones’s team-mates at Wasps to pay tribute.
Macken tweeted: “Never nice to see anyone retire through injury but it’s much worse when it’s a close friend. Destined to be Club Captain at Wasps & win dozens upon dozens of English Caps. The toughest player I’ve played with & against. Can’t wait to see you excel in whatever you do next Jonesy!”