WIGAN prop Ben Flower has been left stunned by the death of his Welsh international team-mate Danny Jones, describing him as “a great man and even better friend.”
Tributes have poured in for Keighley’s Wales international Danny Jones, who has died of a suspected cardiac arrest.
The half-back, who enjoyed a 12-year career, was taken off just four minutes into his club’s League 1 game against London Skolars at the New River Stadium on Sunday afternoon after feeling unwell.
After collapsing at the side of the pitch, an air ambulance was called and Jones was taken by road to the Royal Free Hospital, where extensive efforts to resuscitate him failed. The match was abandoned shortly afterwards.
Jones, who was 29, leaves a wife, Liz, and five-month-old twins.
Flower took to Twitter to pay tribute to Jones.
What a great man and even better friend. He will be missed so muchBen Flower
“My thoughts are with Danny’s family. Worst possible news,” he wrote. “What a great man and even better friend. He will be missed so much.
“He always put a smile on your face. Great man.”
Wigan team-mate Rhodri Lloyd - a fellow Welsh international - said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of the greatest bloke I have ever had the pleasure of calling a friend and a fellow colleague. RIP Danny Jones, you were one in a million son.”
Ex-Wigan prop Gil Dudson, now at Widnes, said: “Heart goes to the family of Danny Jones. He was an absolute legend and will be sorely missed.”
Sam Tomkins tweeted: “Awful news about Danny Jones. Thoughts are with his family and everyone at @Couarmania.”
Jones also played for his home-town club Halifax and won 12 caps for Wales. He made his international debut against Italy in Wrexham in 2010 and his final Test was against Cook Islands in Neath in the 2013 World Cup.
RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said support from the RFL Benevolent Fund and Sporting Chance is offered to his family and friends.
Leigh Centurions’ head of rugby Derek Beaumont pledged £2,000 towards the cost of the funeral and urged other club bosses to follow suit.
Jones is the second rugby league player in just over six years to die after collapsing during a match.
Wakefield forward Leon Walker, who was 20, fell ill during a Wildcats reserve game with Celtic Crusaders in Maesteg in March 2009. It was later discovered that he had an undiagnosed heart defect and a coroner ruled that he died from natural causes.
Just six months before then, Wakefield’s Cook Island international Adam Watene, 31, died after collapsing during a training session.