Big Stormers centre Huw Jones is a relative new face to the Super Rugby side this year, but his path to getting there is more surprising to himself than anyone else.
Scotland-born Jones arrived in Cape Town in 2012 just to enjoy a gap year after completing his schooling at Millfield in Somerset, England, but little did he know his recreational time-off would lead to a Super Rugby contract.
“I was pleased to be close to Newlands, so that I could go watch the games, I never imagined that one day I’d be playing there,” said Jones in an interview with Stormers magazine.
Jones was playing for the 1st XV at Millfield high school in England before coming to South Africa for some time off. “I came on rugby tour to South Africa when I was at school and really loved Cape Town. I decided to go to Bishops to be a stooge for a year with the intention of returning to the UK and enrolling in University.”
While at Bishops, Jones spent his time playing rugby with the False Bay Rugby Club.
“When I was at the club, current Ikeys (UCT) coach Kevin Musikanth asked me to stay until the end of the season. The club did really well and I wanted to keep my commitment so I extended my gap year.”
The relationship he built with Musikanth paid off, as the coach convinced Jones to enrol with UCT to further his rugby opportunities. Fast forward and Jones is pulling a Stormers jersey over his head.
“My mother is very proud and has been quite surprised at what happened.”
Jones’ presence in SA contrasts that of local players moving abroad to find careers, which is a refreshing look at the desire of international youngsters to play in the Super Rugby competition.