Saturday 3 December 2016

Quinlan hails 'inspirational' Jones

Published 30/10/2015 | 02:30

Felix Jones was forced to announce his retirement from the game this week due to injury
Felix Jones was forced to announce his retirement from the game this week due to injury

Munster and Ireland legend Alan Quinlan paid tribute to the 'inspirational' Felix Jones who was this week forced to retire at just 28 from a neck injury.

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Jones missed almost 10 months of the 2009-'10 season with a neck injury and, after suffering another one against Glasgow last month, was advised on medical grounds to call time on his career.

Quinlan, who played alongside the full-back for two years at Munster, revealed how Jones set standards both on and off the pitch. "Felix brought an incredible amount of enthusiasm when he arrived at Munster and you could tell he loved his job by the fact that he was always smiling," he said.

"He was an inspirational guy and one who set standards both on and off the pitch.

"You can see how highly he was respected within the game by the tributes that have been pouring in for him and every one of them is genuine.

"When Felix came down from Leinster, he bought straight into the Munster way of life.

"There was never any agendas with him, what you saw was what you got."

Quinlan revealed how Jones was one of the hardest trainers during his time with Munster and admitted that he will leave a 'huge gap' behind him.

"Felix was really growing into a real leader for Munster in the last few years," Quinlan added. "Guys looked up to him and with all the changes that have been going on in Munster in the last few seasons, it's a testament to how highly he was regarded in that he was made captain on several occasions.

"Any team in the world suffer if they lost someone like Felix but he leaves behind him a great legacy."

Jones won 13 caps for Ireland and was part of this year's Six Nations Championship-winning squad.

He narrowly missed out on selection for the World Cup but, according to Quinlan, he would have many more caps had it not been for injuries.

"Felix worked so hard to battle back from previous injuries but he never let his head drop if he wasn't selected for a match-day squad," Quinlan said.

"He would certainly have gotten more international caps but for injuries and Rob Kearney being around.

"He was always 100pc committed to the cause and in the end that probably cost him but you can't take that trait away from a player.

"He's achieved an incredible amount in his career and he should be very proud."

Irish Independent

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