SAINTS’ versatile centre or back row forward Josh Jones is switching rugby codes at the end of the current Super League season and joining Exeter Chiefs on a two year deal.

The powerful 22-year-old, who was a member of Saints’ Grand Final winning team last season, has hit form in recent weeks and will be a loss to the club.

Since making his Saints debut as an 18-year-old at Warrington in March 2012 Jones has established himself in the team, making 91 appearances in the past four seasons.

He has not let the prospect of heading to pastures new distract him and in recent weeks, including the game against Wigan, Jones has been solid and dependable in holding down a job in the middle of the field.

As moves go, Jones could not have travelled any further domestically than the Devon outpost which is some 253 miles from his native Chorley.

Relatively new to the top flight of the Aviva Premiership The Chiefs are an up and coming, ambitious club who finished fifth last term on the same points as Leicester and eventual champions Saracens.

Jones was excited by the challenge.

He said: "It's a new challenge for me and my family, but it's one that we're all really looking forward to.

"Exeter are a great club, they've just come off the back of a fantastic season and having watched them a few times on the TV, I like the style of rugby they play and the way they go about things.

"Hopefully I can go down there, add a bit to the squad using my experience from playing Super League and look to make my mark as quickly as possible.

"Obviously it's a big change for me, I've been with the Saints since I was 13, but I think it's a good move.

"I'm focused on seeing out what I hope will be another great year with St Helens. They have always been a big part of my life just because I've been here for so long.

"I've had some unbelievable times with the club, especially last season winning the Grand Final.

"That was pretty special, especially as we faced a fair bit of adversity along the way, but that in itself brought us all together and made us a lot stronger.”

Saints boss Keiron Cunningham says Jones’ departure is unfortunate, and has not closed the door on him returning to the club at a future date.

Cunningham said: “Jonesy plays a good part in the balance of my team; he does well in the middle and tidies a lot of stuff up. He’s a good wrestler, solid in defence and carries the ball well and plays big minutes. He is going to be a sad loss.

“It is unfortunate that he has decided to go into pastures new and have a crack at union when he was just finding his feet and really enjoying the game and playing some good rugby too.

“He will be a big loss bit it gives another junior a chance.

“The door is not shut on him. He has come through our system, he is a great kid and I have a soft spot for him because he works hard and everyone enjoys having him around. The door is never closed.

“He is not going to leave on bad terms. If we can fit him under our cap if he does want to come back then I am sure we will have a good look at it.”