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League star Jones to join Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs have switched codes to confirm the latest arrival to the playing ranks at Sandy Park next season.

Having already recruited seven new faces this summer, head coach Rob Baxter has today added St Helens Rugby League star Josh Jones on a two-year deal.

The 22-year-old, who has been with the Saints since the age of 13, made his debut for the Super League outfit against Warrington in March 2012 at centre and has since gone on to establish himself as a proven performer for the Merseysiders.

Jones initially started his playing days in union with hometown club Preston Grasshoppers, but soon switched to the 13-man game where he played for Chorley Panthers, Leyland Warriors and Blackbrook Royals.

His talent was clear to see from an early age and he was England 15 and 16s captain and toured Australia with the Saints Academy in 2009.

Although much of his career has been spent in the centre, Jones is equally adept at playing in the second row and as a loose forward and he was a key figure in helping St Helens win the Grand Final last season.

This season he has continued to flourish and was part of the St Helens side who overcame rivals Wigan Warriors 30-14 in a crunch Super League encounter last Friday night.

Such talent often doesn’t go unnoticed and the Chiefs have moved swiftly to recruit the services of Jones, who will officially join the Devon club in November.

"I can't explain how excited I am about the move," said Jones. "It's a new challenge for me and my family, but it's one that we're all really looking forward to. Exeter are a great club, they've just come off the back of a fantastic season, and having watched them a few times on the TV, I like the style of rugby they play and the way they go about things.

"Hopefully I can go down there, add a bit to the squad using my experience from playing Super League and look to make my mark as quickly as possible.

“Obviously it's a big change for me, I've been with the Saints since I was 13, but as I said I think it's a good move for me.”

With the Aviva Premiership having welcomed a number of star names from Rugby League in recent years such as Jason Robinson, Kyle Eastmond and Sam Burgess, Jones ultimately hopes he too can make his mark in English rugby’s top tier.

He added: "I've not really thought too much about others who have moved from league to union, obviously I know there have been a few that have done it over the years, but I'm more focused on seeing out what I hope will be another great year with St Helens and then moving down to Exeter and getting stuck into it all.

"I've heard lots of good things about the Chiefs and the set-up they have down there. I have family who live down in Cornwall so I've driven past the ground a few times. Personally, I'm looking forward to getting down there properly and getting stuck into training and being with the boys.”

Before heading off, though, Jones still has work to do at Langtree Park where the Saints will again be hoping to triumph in the Grand Final.

"St Helens will always be a big part of my life just because I've been there for so long,” continued Jones. “I've had some unbelievable times with the club, especially last season winning the Grand Final. 

“That was pretty special, especially as we faced a fair bit of adversity along the way, but that in itself brought us all together and made us a lot stronger. That's probably been the highlight to date for me, but I have loads of memories to take with me.”
 

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