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Jones still adjusting after forced retirement

By Cian Tracey

Felix Jones yesterday spoke publicly for the first time since being forced into early retirement last October.

Having your career cut short at just 28 is cruel in the extreme and the void that Jones has left behind him, particularly in terms of his leadership qualities, is something that Munster have so far struggled to cope with.

The full-back was overlooked by Joe Schmidt for the World Cup but the feeling was that he was close to making the cut. Instead, the Dublin native returned to Munster where he was named club captain during the tournament.

Come October, though, a neck injury picked up in the PRO12 meeting with Glasgow was deemed serious enough for him to be forced to call it a day.

It was cruel luck on a player who had become a crowd favourite since moving south from Leinster in 2009; given his previous history with neck injuries, he had no choice but to take on board the medical specialist's recommendation.

In 2009, Jones was stretchered off in a neck brace after a tackle, and ended up being out for almost a year.

The latest setback in October was not a recurrence of the old problem but Jones was unable to relay what the difference between the two injuries actually was.

"I'm not a doctor," came his response to how the two injuries compared.

"I can't go into the specifics. It was separate - two different types of injury. The previous one was at a different level.

"I didn't (immediately) know the extent of it. I knew it was a heavy collision, even by my standards.

"It was a fairly quick process which made it pretty shocking. Mentally you don't think like that. You think it's going to be like all the other ones.

"Of course it's not easy. But that's why you've got experts advising you in these things and they are looking after your welfare, so you trust an expert."

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