Jones' Rebels return confirmed for 2019

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Luke Jones is officially returning to the Rebels next season but it seems unlikely he will be rushed back into the Test fold for the upcoming Spring Tour.

Jones's homecoming, reported on last month, will bring him back to Super Rugby for the 2019 and 2020 seasons after two years in France.

The flanker/lock played for the Rebels and Force in his first Super Rugby stints before signing with French club Bordeaux at the end of 2016.

Jones had signed with Bordeaux through to 2020 but the lure of playing in the 2019 Rugby World Cup put a homecoming on his radar.

He was overlooked by Michael Cheika in the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad but the three-Test forward has been open about his desire to make a play for the 2019 tournament.

Technically, Jones would be eligible to play for the Wallabies immediately in the same vein as Matt Toomua, but it appears unlikely he will make a Test return before the year is out.

The 27-year-old was back in Australia last year playing for the Barbarians against the Wallabies in Sydney and said at the time, he was contemplating a return home.

Luke Jones is in the Barbarians squad. Photo: Getty ImagesJones said in Tuesday's announcement he felt he still had more to give in rugby.

“Having observed the transformation of the club over the last year, it’s obvious the Rebels have taken massive steps forward on and off the field and I want to be a part of that,” stated Jones.

“I’m not content with my rugby as yet and to continue my development as a player, the most important consideration for me was to find a world class rugby program that would help take my game to the next level.

"Speaking with (Rebels coach) David Wessels and a few of my former team mates and looking at the quality of the list at the Rebels, it’s going to be a great challenge for me week to week to earn my spot.”

“I wanted to return to Australia and the fact that I get to return to Melbourne just makes it that much more satisfying.

"I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with old friends at the club and running out again onto AAMI Park. I have such fond memories of my previous time with the Rebels, but I want to add greater new memories too.”

Wallabies coach Cheika is believed to have been a part of the discussions to bring Jones back to Australia and said last year he would welcome the forward back into Super Rugby.

“We never wanted him to leave initially,” he said.

“I was surprised that Bordeaux would be releasing him to come back to play in this game.

“It'd be good to see him back here and I'd love to see him back here playing Super Rugby.”

The Wallabies leave for Japan on October 21 before travelling to Europe for November Tests against Wales, Italy and England.