Only in the twisted world of sport can the adjective ‘versatile’ be turned into a negative, yet Worcester’s Chris Jones admits his ability to play in more than one position might have counted against him in a career that once promised a barrel-load of England caps.
As it is the affable 31-year-old has twelve, more than most but less than a forward whose freakish pace should have made him an international regular for most of the last decade.
The knock has often been his ‘failure’ to tie down a single role, both at Sale and now seemingly at Worcester, where he has been both the club’s fastest second row and their most willowy No.8.
And while he claims he has not given up hope of wearing the Red Rose once again, there will always be the doubters who like things simple and ask: ‘What position does he play?’
“I have been told I am a victim of my versatility,” Jones admits. “Some players play one position and that’s their position. Whereas people look at other players and think ‘He can play either/or, I am not sure which one I would put him in’.
“Me playing No.8 now I feel that has improved my game at second row and when I do go back to second row I will be looking to get my hands on the ball a bit more and play like a back row.
“I think the game is going a bit more like that now. Everyone is playing a bit more. It’s something at Sale in the last few years I started losing because of the way we were playing.
“I am really enjoying the way Richard Hill coaches us to get our hands on the ball, be free to run, pass and enjoy running with the ball.”
One suspects if Jones could chose it’d be the No.8 shirt, a role that allows him to give full rein to his rangy running and effective carrying.
How long incumbent Kai Horstmann remains injured is probably the decisive factor – but not for Jones.
“I don’t feel like I am filling the shirt until Kai is fit. If I am playing well then I am sure the coaches will stick with me and it’s up for Kai to put pressure on.”