Coun­ties to hon­our rugby icon

Franklin County News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

Global rugby icon and proud Welsh­man Phil Kings­ley Jones is to be hon­oured by Coun­ties Manukau Rugby.

Jones has de­cided that, af­ter 15 years of ser­vice to Coun­ties Manukau Rugby, it is time to blow the fi­nal whis­tle on an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer with the union.

He has been made an am­bas­sador of the provin­cial union he loves and the lounge in which he has en­ter­tained thou­sands of peo­ple will now be named the Phil Kings­ley Jones Lounge.

‘‘I love Coun­ties, and any­one who knows me would tell you that,’’ Jones said.

‘‘I have put my heart and soul into this union over the years that I have been here, but now it is ap­pro­pri­ate to step back to be able to spend more time with my fam­ily. I am hon­oured the union is nam­ing the lounge af­ter me and mak­ing me an am­bas­sador.

‘‘I will still do my pub­lic speak­ing and help peo­ple, but I think that the time is right to let some­one else take over the reins, how­ever I will never be far away if they need me for any­thing. The last eight years have been a fan­tas­tic time of suc­cess and growth for Coun­ties with the cham­pi­onship win, the his­toric Ran­furly Shield vic­tory and stay­ing in the pre­mier­ship be­ing some of the highlights.

‘‘I want to thank my beau­ti­ful fam­ily, the peo­ple I have worked with, in­clud­ing the play­ers who I have a special re­la­tion­ship with, and the Coun­ties spon­sors and sup­port­ers who I have a huge love for. We have the best union in the coun­try and I have been lucky to work with such great peo­ple.’’

For­mer Steel­ers and Maori cap­tain Er­rol Brain said he was thrilled to hear the lounge would be named af­ter Jones.

‘‘To hear that Coun­ties is go­ing to name the lounge af­ter Phil and he will be the union am­bas­sador is an ab­so­lute re­flec­tion and recog­ni­tion of all of the work Phil has done for the union over a very long pe­riod of time.

Steel­ers co-cap­tain Au­gus­tine Pulu said: ‘‘His wis­dom, knowl­edge and sup­port for the play­ers and the Union has been un­real.’’

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