Lions tour on Adam Jones' mind
October 20, 2012
Adam Jones shone for the Lions back in 2009 © Getty Images
Ospreys front-rower Adam Jones admits that the thought of playing in his second British & Irish Lions tour is very much on his mind after he was one of the star performers on their 2009 trip to South Africa.
Jones started the second Test against the Boks three years ago and excelled from the bench in their first clash with South Africa. South African prop Tendai Mtawarira was causing the Lions' scrum difficulty, with the Boks awarded three penalties in the first half as a result of their dominance.
But Jones' second-half entrance seemed to stop the tide of penalties against the Lions and they came back from 26-7 down to within just five points of the Boks, eventually losing 26-21.
The Lions eventually lost the Test series 2-1 but the experience of playing in South Africa left a profound impression on Jones. He has been playing some of his best rugby for both region and country and is one of the prime contenders for the tight-head spot, with England's Dan Cole another mentioned.
And despite the Lions not playing their first game on foreign soil until June 1, the thought of turning out for the side is already on Jones' mind.
"If any player says they aren't thinking about the Lions tour, they are lying," Jones told the Daily Mail. "I'm definitely thinking about it. What fascinated me was how much interest there was in the Lions. I was picked to start against Natal Sharks and when I did interviews, there were probably three journalists there.
"When I was picked for the second Test, I couldn't believe how many people were there. In the space of about three weeks it was as if the whole world had turned up! You don't realise how big the Lions is until you are involved in it.
"It was a real highlight of my career and I did quite well out in South Africa. In Durban, the scrum hadn't been going too well and I was told to warm up, ready to come on. I'd never been so nervous about playing - my heart was beating like crazy - but as we'd been struggling, I thought if we just have a couple of steady scrums, that would settle me down a bit."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Top 14, Super Rugby and the Aviva Premiership with fireworks and monsters both featuring
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
It is 100 years this week since the last international match played in Europe before the outbreak of World War One. Rewind remembers the fixture's longest-living survivor
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14