NZ Rugby World



DEBUT: Friday, 22 May 1987 v Italy at Auckland aged 22 years, 44 days LAST TEST: Saturday, 1 August 1998 v Australia at Christchur­ch aged 33 years, 115 days

PLAYED: 74 matches, 55 tests and 19 games.

FUN FACT Jones was once asked how his ferocious tackling aligned with his strong Christian faith. He replied, “the Lord says it is better to give than to receive”.

Though he was better known as an openside flanker, Michael Jones started 19 of his 55 tests on the blindside and was widely regarded as one of the best in the world. He was also a very good No8 which is where he started with Auckland, and John Hart considered using Jones as cover in the midfield for Auckland too.

“That’s how skillful Michael Jones was at his peak. He was the best No7 you’d ever see and he is the best football I ever saw or coached - and remains that way. “Injuries caught up with him but then he moved to the blindside and became a devastatin­g blindside.” He hurt his knee badly in 1989 and again in 1997 but had already made the switch to blindside by then with the emergence of Josh Kronfeld at openside. He was devastatin­g in the 1996 series win against South Africa and in the earlier 43-6 thumping of Australia at Athletic Park and clean sweep of the Tri-Nations. Age and injuries eventually caught up with the most fleet footed of All Blacks loose forwards. His final test was in 1998.

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