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Young Gun: Will Jones – Wales U20s captain

Enjoying the student life while trying to become a professional rugby player is not easy but Wales U20s captain Will Jones is proving anything is possible with discipline.

The 18-year-old openside is a member of the Ospreys academy but he is also studying full-time at Swansea University where he lives in the student halls.

He reveals it can be hard to resist temptation but nothing is going to drive him away from his dream especially after he gave up his judo career for it.

Jones is a former British Judo Cadet Champion and European Youth Olympian but he decided to concentrate on his rugby two years ago and has led Wales U20s in the Six Nations in the opening three rounds despite being a year young.

“I had a great time in judo but I made the decision to give it up to pursue my rugby career so I’m determine to do my best to succeed,” he said.

“There is a lot of temptation living in the halls when it comes to going out or having a few beers. I do have some at times but it’s important to keep the right balance.

“I know what I want to achieve and it’s just something I have to do. I definitely don’t do it in the middle of a Six Nations.

“Being named captain was a bit of a shock at first. I’m a year young so the first game in Italy was actually my first cap at U20s level. I ended up being man of the match, too, so it was a day I’ll remember for a long time.

“I think I play better when I’m captain because I’ve got to lead by example and that spurs me on. It sits nicely with the role of an openside anyway as you’ve got to put yourself out there.”

Jones is also cutting his teeth in senior rugby this season playing in the Premiership with Swansea as well as getting exposure in the B&I Cup with the Ospreys Premiership Select.

He added: “The Cup was great for me and we’re actually the only team to have beaten London Irish this season as we won at the Madejski in the last pool round.

“This is my first year in senior rugby so I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy to make the step up but I’m enjoying the physicality of it.

“My judo background is coming handy especially in the tackle area. It can help take the man down but it shows up a lot more at the breakdown when it comes to clearing a player out or going for a jackal.

“The Junior World Cup is my next challenge and I’ll do my best to get in the squad. I’m not sure what the plan is for me in terms of rugby is between the Six Nations and the JWC but I’ll sit down with the coaches and decide what’s best for me. I know I’ll spend a lot of time polishing my skills and try to get bigger in the gym.”

 

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