Huw Jones stays resolute in his determination to fight back
Former Scotland star flirted with decision to quit Scotland
Less than two years ago Huw Jones was the toast of a nation after his heroics in a famous Calcutta Cup win and appeared to have the world at his feet.
As a new year begins, the Glasgow centre is hoping for a fresh start after a 2019 to forget. Injury, loss of form and an apparent struggle to adapt to life in Scotland after honing his rugby talents in Cape Town led to a drift which saw him left out of Scotland’s World Cup squad for Japan.
The Edinburgh-born 26-year-old had a brief flirtation with a move to Leicester but was convinced to stay put at Scotstoun and fight to regain his 23-cap international career.
“At times I’ve thought about it,” admitted Jones about the possibility of moving on. “It’s been a tough year: I’ve had a couple of injuries, non-selection. I think at times I’ve thought maybe I’m in the wrong place. But not really. It’s a fleeting thought.”
Speaking after a tryscoring display in what ended up as a 29-19 loss to Edinburgh in the series-levelling 1872 Cup match on Saturday, Jones added: “Basically when you get dropped, five minutes afterwards you’re sulking about it, but you have to get on with your job. You’ve got to help the guys that are playing and hopefully you get your chance if you’re training well.”
An undoubted attacking weapon, the feeling has been that Jones can be found wanting in defence, but he is eager to prove his critics wrong.
“[Glasgow head coach] Dave [Rennie] has said there’s not much between me Nick Grigg. Every time he tells you that you’re not playing, he tells you what he wants you to work on. Often it’s frustrating, because you already are. All you can do is just keep working on it,” said Jones.
“I saw someone tweet something the other day, saying players will say ‘Play me and I’ll show you’ and coaches will say ‘Show me and I’ll play you’. It’s tough to get out of that when you’re not playing, but when you are playing you want to stay there as long as you can.
“I think I enjoy the guys that I’m playing with, I like the environment at Glasgow, but yes, a lot of it is proving people wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever been massively out of form.”
Born in Edinburgh, but raised in England and schooled at Millfield in Somerset, Jones became a professional rugby player almost by accident while at university in South Africa. A stellar rise with Western Province and Super Rugby side Stormers led to a Test call-up by Vern Cotter and a stunning foray into the international scene, with ten tries in his first 15 caps.
His finest hour was that day in February 2018 when Scotland demolished what seemed, at the time, an invincible England side 25-13 at BT Murrayfield, Jones scoring twice.
He joined Glasgow in 2017 but has found it hard to replicate his Scotland form at club level and, while contracted to 2021, admits the possibility of moving on has been floated with Rennie.
“Yes, we discussed it,” explained Jones. “I think at the beginning we obviously disagreed. I’ve said to him that I just want to be playing, and he understands that it’s coming from the right place.”