Salford Red Devil’s forward Josh Jones has been called up to the GB rugby league side.
It is the first GB team to be announced in over a decade as the RFL (Rugby Football League) said after the 2007 All Golds tour that the team would no longer compete on a regular basis.
However, on the 9th of May 2017, it was confirmed that GB would tour the Southern hemisphere in 2019.
“To be called up to GB is a very special honour for me and my family. I grew up watching GB and to be named in this years squad is a massive honour.
“The history around playing for GB is the greatest achievement any rugby player can have. I feel extremely lucky to get the chance to represent the jersey.”
Jones’ efforts this campaign have earnt him a place in the 2019 Super League dream team.
? WELL DESERVED!
— Salford Red Devils (@SalfordDevils) September 15, 2019
It is a pleasure that he had not been expecting with the Salford star telling me: “At the beginning of the year if someone had told me I would finish my time at Salford with a grand final appearance and a GB call up I would have thought they were mad. But to achieve something so great is incredibly humbling. I cant wait to get started.”
The 26 year old forward signed for the Red Devils in 2016 after going back into Rugby league after a short period of time plying his trade in Rugby union.
Its been a hectic few days for Jones who was part of the Salford side that were beaten 23-6 by St Helens in the Super League final at Old Trafford on Saturday and then got married in Clitheroe on Sunday and now he has to put his honeymoon on hold due to being called up:
“The last 10 days have been crazy! The maddest 10 days of my life.
“It started after the Wigan game last week, I called my partner and mum who were on Olivia’s hen do, and burst out crying, the emotion has been incredible.”
YTB what a win! Buzzing to be going back to Old Trafford. Fans were outstanding, see you all next week ???
— Joshua Jones (@Jdjones26) October 4, 2019
The lions start their tour with a fixture against Tonga in the Waikato stadium before back to back bouts against New Zealand on the 2nd at the Eden Park stadium and then the 9th of November at the Christchurch stadium. The tour concludes with the only game outside of New Zealand as they travel to Papa New Guinea on the 16th of November.
“The obvious goal is to win, an undefeated tour representing GB down under would be pretty special. I just want to train hard, get to know my team mates and enjoy an unbelievable experience.
“A personal goal of mine is to push probably the two best back rowers in world rugby at the minute in Elliot Whitehead and John Bateman for a starting spot.”
Saturdays super league final disappointment was Jones last work as a Red Devils player as he has agreed to join Hull FC, joining in time for the next season. It is clear that he will look back on his time with the Red Devils fondly, he said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Salford. Made some friends for life and some unbelievable memories of my time at Salford and cant wait to play them next year.
✍ Hull FC are pleased to announce their first deal for 2020 with the sought after signature of Josh Jones on a two-year contract! #2020Vision
— Hull FC (@hullfcofficial) May 20, 2019
“My favourite moment has to be the Grand Final appearance, obviously the score didn’t go our way but the build up and experience for me and the club was something I cant put into words. I just hope the club continues to grow and kick on next year.”