Despite having lofty ambitions when he joined Harlequins in summer 2013, an injury-ravaged 18 months have limited Paul Doran Jones’ impact at the Twickenham Stoop.
But with his injury woes almost behind him, the prop is adamant he will be a key contributor for Quins as they approach the business end of the season.
After being limited to just 19 appearances last term following his move from Northampton Saints, a calf tear has rendered this campaign even more of a write-off.
Doran Jones is yet to play a single minute and youngsters Kyle Sinckler and Will Collier have impressed in the tighthead’s absence, helping Harlequins to the top of their European Rugby Champions Cup pool.
And although they currently lie six points outside the Premiership play-off places, Conor O’Shea’s men still have designs on breaking into the top four by the time the season ends.
After watching on from the sidelines so far, Doran Jones admits he is desperate to be a part of things come crunch time.
“It has been a frustrating two years for me at Quins really,” said the 29-year-old who has won six England caps.
“I moved here with great hopes and aspirations but I’ve just been plagued with injury. I got to great heights and came to Quins with a view of pressing on but that hasn’t been the case.
“I tore my calf at the start of the year, re-tore it and now I’m having a few more complications with it still.
“It’s so frustrating – you find yourself out of the team environment, away from the banter of the lads and just watching on.
“I’m just itching to get back out there – we’re looking to the end of January for a return which is great because it means the end is in sight.
“It’s always great to play towards the end of the season when everything means so much more – everyone is striving for something, so every game is massive.”
Doran Jones was speaking after visiting Bishop Perrin C of E Primary School to support the Aviva Tackling Numbers programme, an innovative and engaging scheme for children aged 7-9 which makes learning about numbers fun through rugby-based exercises.
The front rower, who did a maths A-Level during his own schooldays, joined Harlequins team-mates Danny Care and Nick Evans in taking part in maths challenges against the kids before leading them in a tag rugby session.
And after admitting the youngsters comfortably bested the rugby professionals in the classroom, Doran Jones believes the programme is the perfect way to combine rugby and learning.
“It’s something we all feel very strongly about and it’s great to go into schools and spend some time with the kids – hopefully it improves learning and gives it a bit more impact,” he said.
“I took maths at A-level would you believe but I didn’t have my calculator for these maths challenges, so that’s where I went wrong!
“It was good fun and Nick Evans was pretty good – I’m sure he’s been practising in his spare time when he’s not kicking.
“It’s great that all 12 Aviva Premiership clubs are supporting the programme – it gives it a massive backing and makes it a proper project that we can all get behind.”
Paul Doran Jones is supporting Aviva Tackling Numbers, an innovative maths programme for 7-9 year olds. The programme aims to improve numeracy levels through rugby based exercises and is run in partnership with Premiership Rugby. Visit www.aviva.co.uk/tacklingnumbers.