AN ACADEMICALLY gifted teenager aims to pursue his sporting talent which could see him follow in a rugby legend’s footsteps.
16-year-old Sion Jones, of Barry, who achieved 1 A, 7 Bs and 3 C-grade GCSE’s at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, will trace Wales Rugby Union star turned Widnes Rugby League favourite Jonathan Davies’ path after top Widnes Vikings coaches spotted his ability and offered opportunity to play Rugby League for a Super League club.
But the youngster, who had planned to embark on a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport at Coleg Y Cymoedd and play for the Cardiff Blues under 18's, has not completely thrown away his books as the Widnes move also includes accommodation and a full time course studying the BTEC Level 3 National Diploma in Sport.
Sion began his rugby career, aged five, playing for Sully RFC and then for Penarth RFC.
He won player of the year and other awards and the number eight position player, who has also played at number six and centre, also played for the Vale of Glamorgan Squad and Cardiff Blues.
He was recently picked for the Cardiff Blues Under 18's, but declined the offer due to the plans to follow rugby league career.
He first started playing Rugby League four years ago for the Pontyclun Panthers initially to keep him fit during the break in the Rugby Union season.
He was then asked to join the South Wales Scorpions and then, as one of the youngest players, was picked to play for the Wales squad playing against England last August earning his first Welsh cap honours.
He still plays for the South Wales Academy, formally South Wales Scorpions, and was selected to play for Wales against England at Mountain Ash on Saturday August, 30.
England beat Wales 48 – 18, but their team were two years older.
Sion, however was both teams’ man of the match, having scored two of the Welsh tries and assisted the third.
Sion’s mum said his plans changed after he played for the South Wales Academy against Widnes in May.
She said; “At the start of the game the South Wales Academy were losing by a large margin, but after the half time team talk they came out all guns blazing quickly turning around the game, but eventually loosing by only a few points. The Widnes Vikings coaches were impressed with the forwards’ defence and made enquiries as to whether some of the boys would consider a move north to study and play rugby league.
“The Widnes coaches visited the South Wales Academy three weeks on the trot taking training sessions and talking to the boys and their parents.
Sion and his friend Connor Parker, from Aberdare, were asked to visit the facilities at Widnes and were both treated very well meeting everyone from the office andground staff, coaches, players - both academy and first team - and the CEO.
“He was impressed with the Widnes Vikings due to it being a very friendly and family orientated club.”
Sion’s younger brother Thomas Jones, 14, is following in his brother's footsteps already playing for Bro Morgannwg and the Vale of Glamorgan squad.
Sion’s mum added: “Since the age of five there has been a lot of travelling and busy weekends.
“We are both looking forward to watching Sion playing for a Rugby League club and having a future in rugby. His contract is for 27 months but can be extended at anytime. Education is still a priority for Sion and he is realistically looking to the future and wants to get a degree and qualifications in Sport to become a strength and conditioning coach or physiotherapist. He met some of his heroes including Hep Cahill, Danny Tickle and Willy Icer when he went to meet the Widnes Team. His ultimate ambition is to play for an NRL side such as South Sydney in Australia.
"Sion is not nervous about his move. Widnes have a complete support network in place and he has already befriended some Widnes players. He is also moving with his good friend Connor Parker. I am sure he will enjoy his time with Widnes and follow in Jonathan Davies footsteps to represent Wales up north.”
Sion thanked his dad for getting him to all his games and training and teachers Rhodri Jones, at Ysgol St Curig, Rhys Beynon, at Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, for supporting his rugby career and the coaches at Sully RFC, Penarth RFC, South Wales Academy and Cardiff Blues.