Age 30 (8 March 1981)
Position Tighthead prop
Born Abercrave, Powys
Adam Jones made his Wales debut in 2003 and has gone on to play in three World Cups and win 75 caps for his country. He also impressed when playing in two Tests for the 2009 Lions. Here he talks us through his rugby journey…
I loved rugby from the start. When I was seven, a new headteacher at my primary school introduced a number of sports into our school and I took to rugby straightaway.
From the start we played with mixed ages because I went to a small school with only about 30 kids. I was playing with boys older than me and it was full tackling; there was no tag or touch rugby in those days.
My parents were heavily involved in rugby at the local club, Abercrave, so I think they were delighted when I started playing. I remember getting up with them in the middle of the night to watch the 1987 World Cup.
My life in rugby started at flanker, but when I started senior school I was moved into the front row and I was on the tighthead right from the start.
Church on Sunday with my mother meant I couldn’t play club rugby in my early days, but I carried on with my school team and with the Swansea Valley. My teacher, Darren Jones, was a prop so that certainly helped.
To avoid getting a job when I left school, I agreed with my parents that I’d go on a Rugby Studies course at college in Llanelli. At the front of the class was Sean Holley, who was my lecturer and who is now Ospreys head coach. I didn’t know then that our paths would cross again.
I’m grateful for the support my parents gave me after school. They had sent my older brother to university and supported me. That allowed me to achieve what I have.
I’ll admit I was a few pounds overweight after college, but the Neath coaches, including Lyn Jones, saw enough in me to give me a chance with their U21s.
Tough is how I’d describe my introduction to senior rugby with Neath. It was a case of sink or swim right from the start.
My first scrum in senior rugby, against this older guy, seemed to go well. But he dropped the second one and punched me full in the face. To be honest I didn’t know what to do, so I just carried on. After the match he came into our dressing room with two cans of Heineken and we enjoyed a beer.
I’d recommend to anyone to play a season or two in the lower leagues as the standard is still very good. I’ve said before at the Ospreys that our props should do a spell there.
Mad is what I would have called anyone who’d said in my Neath days that I would even play for Wales, let alone more than 70 times, and that I would become a British & Irish Lion.
I was shocked to be called up to the Wales squad in my final year at Neath and then to get an Ospreys contract. It was only then that I started to believe I could have a career as a rugby player. A few months later, in the summer of 2003, I won my first cap for Wales – it all seemed to happen so quickly.
Incredible is how I’d describe the experience of the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009. It’s one I’ll never forget, although I’ve found playing for Wales amazing as well.
My target now is definitely 100 caps and I would love to go on another Lions tour in 2013, although I know there are a load of new, younger props coming through at the moment.
I’m looking forward to the RBS 6 Nations, and another great campaign. This is always a special time and, taking nothing away from how well Huw (Bennett) did at the World Cup, it will be great to have Matthew Rees back with us. 2012 is also my testimonial year and there’s going to be lots of events going on, so there are exciting times ahead.
DID YOU KNOW?
Jones became the sixth person to play 150 games for the Ospreys when facing the Scarlets on Boxing Day 2011
This article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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