Hall of Fame Inductee - Michael Jones

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse Bar' started by Cymro, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Cymro

    Cymro Guest

    Full Name: Michael Niko Jones [​IMG]
    D.O.B: 8 April, 1965
    Position: Flanker
    Country: New Zealand (55 Caps, 56 Points)
    Clubs: Te Atatu Rugby Club, Waitemata Rugby Club and Auckland

    Jones was obviously destined for stardom from the time he made the Auckland side as a 20-year-old and in his representative debut scored three tries against South Canterbury. Top performances towards the end of the 1986 season in Auckland's Ranfurly Shield defences confirmed that promise and he was ear-marked for the All Blacks when he starred with the Barbarians in 1987 on a tour of Britain. He also appeared for the New Zealand Colts and, being of Samoan descent, played a test for Western Samoa in 1986.

    In the 1987-88-89 seasons, despite problems from his religious principles forbidding Sunday play, it seemed as if Jones was a player blessed and he was one of the best All Blacks in the World Cup triumph. He was the first man to score a World Cup try and in one of the pool matches against Fiji he showed the finesse and judgement of a centre in putting wing Craig Green away for a try.

    But the knee injury against the Pumas ruled him out for nearly 12 months and when he returned towards the end of the 1990 season, though still superb, he may have been not quite the same dynamic player.

    Nevertheless, he was taken to the 1991 Rugby World Cup tournament and he scored in the opening match against England at Twickenham. But Jones's unavailability for three Sunday matches in the 1991 tournament was a factor which did not help the All Blacks' bid to retain the title won in 1987. The composition of the squad to cover for Jones was also direly affected when another of the loose forwards, Mike Brewer, failed a fitness test and was a late withdrawal.

    Jones was not chosen for the 1995 World Cup in South Africa because of the Sunday complication and the tough decision taken by then All Black coach Laurie Mains was undoubtedly justified. Yet that was not to be, as many had assumed, the end of Jones's All Black career even if another injury, a broken jaw, had ruled him out of the 1993 tour of England and Scotland and in 1997 against Fiji there was another serious knee problem.

    But increasingly in the mid 1990s Jones had been making the switch, both with Auckland and the All Blacks, from being an openside tearaway to the more conservative, less flamboyant but more physical demands of becoming a blindside flanker. As a number six, with his strength, commitment and fierce close quarter tackling, he was especially effective in 1996, when the All Blacks scored a record 43-6 win over the Wallabies at Athletic Park , won the inaugural tri-nations title and won a test series for the first time over the Springboks in South Africa.

    But by 1998, when he was 33, it was clear he was now beginning to feel the effects of his many injuries and after some disastrous All Black results that season he became one of the casualties, being dropped for the final two tests of that season.

    Jones won many plaudits for his on field deeds, even being acclaimed by some judges as the greatest rugby player of all time. That may have been arguable, but he certainly would be a candidate any dream All Black XV.

    Of part Samoan heritage, he was a splendid role model off the field as well. Always polite and quietly spoken, and a solid student who gained two university degrees, he won respect for the dignifed manner with which he stuck to his principles.

    Career Summary
    Played for Samoa against Wales in 1986, the same year as he was a New Zealand Colt. He was called into the New Zealand squad in 1987 and scored the opening try of the Rugby World Cup – a feat he repeated against England in the opening match of the 1991 tournament. Won a World Cup winners’ medal in 1987 and went on to play for the All Blacks in 74 matches in 11 years. Played for the NZ Barbarians against England at Twickenham in 1996. He took over as assistant coach of Samoa in 2001.

    Interesting facts:
    -Speaks fluent Samoan and is the current Manu Samoan Coach
    -Due to his services to his south auckland community he has now a street named after him known as "Michael Jones Drive"
    -Because of his strict Christian faith he never played rugby on a Sunday as he promised his dying father
    -Among many important matches he missed as a result was the 1991 World Cup semi-final against Australia in Dublin,in which Australia won and win the World Cup
    -Was not selected in the 1995 World Cup because of his commitment to his faith,New Zealand lost that tournament to South Africa
    -Co-Owns a very popular Deli in the Otara Shopping Centre in south Auckland
    -Official Hall of Famer,Inducted in 2003 with fellow New Zealanders Ian Kirkpatrick and All Black team mate John Kirwan
    -Also in that Elite class of 2003 inductees,he featured along other greats such as Bill Beaumont of England,Gavin Hastings of Scotland,Tim Horan of Australia,Jo Maso of France and Syd Millar of Ireland
    -Ranked and voted in the top 10 "Greatest All Blacks Of All Time"

    From Personal experiences
    Undeniably a grand legend and one of the games best students....ive only grown to appreciate his legacy only until recently,i am samoan and ill tell you now that the respect that michael jones gets from his samoan heritage is overwhelming...so i can understand his humbleness but his discipline is something far greater..too have so much respect from EVERYONE yet remain the person that he has been since his first rugby game and have the humility every day is an awesome power to have...

    ive met his wife who at first glance looks like a palagi/pakeha(european) woman...my mum pointed out that thats michael jones wife when we were at there shop in otara..she looked at me and smiled..this was when i was like 7 years old and then another samoan lady started speaking in samoan...i was saying "mum that ladys talking to you"..we turned around and that palagi lady was speaking to that other samoan lady...in samoan...

    the first time ive ever witnessed a palagi/pakeha speak my language so fluently..hahhaa..i think she is a halfcast islander but was a really cool moment..

    another time was last year when i saw michael jones up,close and personal at a famous samoan community worker's funeral..our cuzzin knew him and he introduced michael to my mum and my sister..in true gentlemans fashion he greeted and hugged my mum and sis and followed wit a kiss on there cheeks...hahaha...i was just thinking about michael as with his grand status in the rugby world he is still just a normal man and he will never neglect his community or his people..for riches or fame..

    great man...great player..just simply one of the greatest

    Original nomination by THE CHIROPRACTOR101

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