Friday, 17 August 2007
Michael Jones with a big heart in South Africa
Feedback from John Tulloch
I was lucky enough to encounter Michael Jones numerous times during my time as a sports journalist. As a player he was artistry in motion and as you've outlined he was a prince off the field as well.
I was covering the All Black tour of South Africa in 1992 and the team was playing Central Unions in a scruffy dustbowl of a town called Witbank. Following the match and having done my various interviews and filed back to New Zealand, I meandered out into the now empty stadium, bar for a gaggle of laughing, yelling black kids down one end. I investigated further saw amidst the melee of youngsters was Michael Jones conducting an impromptu rugby clinic.
Jones, who hadn't played that day had a look of real joy on his face as the kids relished getting a master class in the game from a true great. In the end, as darkness fell, a gruff Laurie Mains (was he ever anything else?!) barked out from under the main stand for his star flanker to get moving as the team was boarding the bus. Jones left somewhat reluctantly, and the kids gave him a boisterous send-off thanking him profusely. This was just one example of many I witnessed of Jones' kind heartedness and generosity. He was a class act.
August 17, 2007 7:19 AM