RISING star Josh Jones will join rugby union’s Exeter Chiefs at the end of the season.
The 22-year-old, who can play either at centre or in the forwards, joins the Aviva Premiership side on a two-year deal, starting from the 2016 season.
Originally from Chorley, Jones, who has made 91 appearances for the Super League champions since making his first team debut against Warrington in 2012, admits he leaves with fond memories of the club he has been with since he was 13.
“I’ve had some unbelievable times with the club, especially last season winning the Grand Final,” he said.
“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.”
But Jones insists his business with Saints is not done - and is determined on going out on a high.
I’m focused on seeing out what I hope will be another great year with St HelensJosh Jones
“I’m focused on seeing out what I hope will be another great year with St Helens. They have always been a big part of my life just because I’ve been there for so long,” he said.
With a try and 14 appearances to his name in 2015, Jones is the latest in a line of code hoppers, which in 2011 included former saints star Kyle Eastmond.
And he hopes the rugby league experience he has gained since his junior days can stand him in good stead ahead of his new challenge.
“It’s a new challenge for me and my family, but it’s one that we’re all really looking forward to,” he said. “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.
Next season won’t be Jones’ first taste of the 15-a-side code though. He played for Preston Grasshoppers as well as junior rugby league for Chorley Panthers, Blackbrook and Leyland Warriors.
He was England 15 and 16s captain and toured Australia with Saints Academy in 2009.