”He’s a great man. An inspiration.”
That is Michael Jones talking about Michael Jones.
One Michael Jones – the ACL mechanic from Ashburton – played rugby for Tinwald, Southern, and Collegiate, and played for Mid Canterbury when he was 18 – and the other, Sir Michael, needs no introduction.
The famed All Black flanker – The Ice Man – was in Ashburton several weeks ago as fundraiser for junior rugby and met up – again – with his namesake.
Sir Michael first met Ashburton’s Michael Jones when he came to Ashburton to launch his book, The Ice Man.
Ashburton’s Michael Jones, then, was 6, and was photographed sitting on the All Black’s left knee.
It was a big moment for the local lad – and one he remembers still.
Years later, when Sir Michael was playing for Auckland, he met him again briefly, saying: “Remember me, Michael Jones from Ashburton?”
He did, and they exchanged a few words.
Then when his family heard Sir Michael was going to be back in town, they suggested he go along.
“I wasn’t going to bother, but I had some mates over from Aussie (Michael also played rugby there), so I phoned the rugby union about booking a table for Michael Jones and they were a bit confused as they said he had one. I said, ‘no, not that Michael Jones’ and they asked how many. I said six and they said they had no tables left, but they arranged another one, which was good.”
When he was there, the two Jones boys met up again – and Ashburton’s Michael Jones was photographed sitting on Sir Michael’s knee.
But this time, he had to sit on Sir Michael’s right knee – the left one still being tender from his playing days.