19-year-old flanker Sam Jones has penned a professional contract with Championship club, Doncaster Knights.
The teenager joined the academy ahead of the 2016/17 campaign but was dealt a crushing setback as, just a couple of weeks into pre-season, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
Jones continued to train around his treatment, doing non-contact drills and gym work until receiving the news he’d been longing for in December 2016 – the all-clear.
Speaking on the news, director of rugby Clive Griffiths said: “Sam is a real success story for the club, a fantastic example of local talent coming through the ranks and a player who wants to play for the Knights.
“He has really impressed in his time with us, you wouldn’t think when you watched him playing against Bristol away or Newcastle in pre-season, facing international opposition, that he was a 19-year-old learning the ropes.
“I believe Sam will benefit from full-time professional training with experienced pros like Michael Hills and Jack Ram as mentors and I’m expecting his game to flourish accordingly..."
Sam scored a hat-trick on his debut for the academy before going on to be an integral part of the squad that lifted the BUCS Northern Conference Plate last season and his potential saw him called into the Knights training squad for pre-season.
Following a successful summer Jones went on to feature in all three pre-season fixtures before making his competitive debut for the Knights in September’s Championship win over London Scottish. Sam has gone on to notch five first-team appearances, including starts in British & Irish Cup clashes against Leinster A and Bristol.