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Michael Jones (rugby union player)

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Title: Michael Jones (rugby union player)  
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Subject: International Rugby Board, University of Auckland, Rugby union positions, 1991 Rugby World Cup, Bro'Town, Samoa national rugby union team, Brian Lima, International Rugby Hall of Fame, 1965 in New Zealand, Sione Lauaki
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Michael Jones (rugby union player)

Michael Niko Jones
Full name Michael Niko Jones
Date of birth (1965-04-08) 8 April 1965 (age 49)
Place of birth Auckland, New Zealand
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight 98 kg (15 st 6 lb)
School Henderson High School
University University of Auckland
Occupation(s) Rugby union footballer & coach
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Flanker, Number eight
New Zealand No. 882
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1985–1999 Auckland
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1996–1999 Blues
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1986
1987–1998
Samoa Samoa
New Zealand New Zealand
1
55
(0)
(56)
correct as of 15 October 2007.
Coaching career
Years Club / team
2004–2007 Samoa
Rugby union career

Michael Niko Jones, MNZM (born 8 April 1965), is a New Zealand former rugby union player and coach. He was nicknamed 'the Iceman' or 'Ice' because of the number of icepacks he needed for injuries. He has been voted by Rugby World magazine as the third best All Black of the 20th century after Colin Meads and Sean Fitzpatrick.[1] John Hart, who first selected him for Auckland, called him "almost the perfect rugby player".

Early years

Michael Jones was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and grew up in Te Atatu South, a suburb in the west of Auckland, attending Edmonton Primary, Rangeview Intermediate and Henderson High School. His talent for tackling was discovered early, as a 10-year old tackling 15–18-year olds at the weekend kick-abouts at the primary school. He played for the primary school team when still in standard one, when he was three years younger than many of the older children and by the time he attended Henderson High School, he was already well-known locally. He then helped turn a mediocre high school first XV into a force that could compete with Auckland Grammar and Kelston Boys High (the regional heavyweights) for the first time. He played his early club rugby for the local Waitemata Rugby Club and it wasn't long before the Auckland representative team (coached by John Hart) took notice.[2]

Playing career

Michael Jones played initially as an open side flanker, and made his provincial debut for Auckland aged 20 in the 1985 National Provincial Championship, scoring three tries against South Canterbury. He also played for New Zealand Colts. He made his international debut for Western Samoa, for whom he qualified through his mother, in 1986.[3] After one cap for Samoa, and a British tour with the New Zealand Barbarians in 1987, he first played for New Zealand in the first game of the inaugural World Cup in the same year.[4] He scored the first try of the tournament[5] and played in four games, including the final,[6] as New Zealand went on to win the competition. He also scored the first try of the second World Cup in 1991.[7][8]

Jones's career was blighted by injuries, notably two serious knee injuries (in 1989 and 1997) and a broken jaw in 1993. Due to this he only played 55 international games during a period when New Zealand played almost 90 internationals, even though he was usually first choice whenever fit.[9]

His international career was also affected by his strong Christian beliefs, as he refused to play on Sundays.[9] Although he was selected for the 1987 and 1991 All Black World Cup squads, he missed three Sunday games in the 1991 tournament due to his religious beliefs. .[10] Jones was omitted from the 1995 squad as he would have been unavailable for the quarterfinal and semifinal games.[9] He was once asked how a Christian such as himself could be such an uncompromising tackler. In reply he quoted a phrase from the Bible: is better to give than receive.[11][12]

Michael Jones was a member of the successful Auckland and Auckland Blues teams which dominated New Zealand rugby in the late 1980s and 1990s.[13] Between 1985 and 1999 Auckland won 9 NPC titles, 5 Super 6 championships, and defended the Ranfurly Shield a record 61 consecutive times (between 1985 and 1993),[14] while the Blues won the first two Super 12 competitions in 1996[15] and 1997.[16] In 1997 he succeeded Zinzan Brooke as captain of Auckland and the Blues.

He was an outstanding openside flanker, and scored 13 international tries. Later in his career, and after his injuries had reduced the speed which characterised his early career, he played predominantly as a blindside flanker or number eight. In 1998 he was dropped from the New Zealand team at the age of 33 after a loss over Australia[17] and retired at the end of the 1999 season.[18]

Coaching career

On 7 April 2004 Jones was appointed national coach of Samoa, replacing New Zealander John Boe.[19] He had previously served as Boe's assistant coach during the 2003 World Cup.[20] In 2007, just after the players flew out to New Zealand to prepare for their tour of South Africa, there was speculation that Jones had resigned as coach. However, after talks with the Manu Samoa Union over whether his role should become full-time until the World Cup, Jones joined the team on tour.

After a disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign in which Manu Samoa won only one game, lost to their arch-rivals Tonga for the first time in seven years[21] and finished fourth in their group,[22] Jones resigned as coach. He was replaced by Samoa's Sevens and Under-19 coach Niko Palamo.[23]

Legacy

Jones has been a positive role model, particularly for Pacific Islander youth in New Zealand, and in 1990 he received a New Zealand Medal for service to the Pacific Island community.[24] He graduated from the University of Auckland with three degrees: B.A., M.A. and Bplan.[24] In 2003 he was inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.[25] He has been given the matai title (Samoan chiefly title) of La'auli.[26]

He is said to be interested in pursuing a political career with the New Zealand National Party.[27]

References

External links

  • AllBlacks.com
  • Waitemata Rugby Club
Sporting positions
Preceded by
New Zealand John Boe
Samoa National Rugby Union Coach
2004–2007
Succeeded by
Samoa Niko Palamo


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