La’auli Michael Jones
Auckland, New Zealand
A former Manu Samoa, New Zealand All Black, Auckland NPC and Auckland Blues rugby player. Jones is also a former Coach of the Manu Samoa rugby team. Jones was voted 3rd best All Black of the 20th century, and former All Blacks coach, John Hart, called Jones “almost the perfect rugby player”.
SHORT BIO / CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
Jones graduated from the University of Auckland with three degrees – a B.A., M.A. and Bplan. Jones played initially as an open side flanker, and made his provincial debut for Auckland aged 20 in 1985.
He made his International debut for Western Samoa in 1986, qualifying for this position through his native Samoan mother. After one cap for Samoa and a tour with the NZ Barbarians, he played his first game in the World Cup that same year, scoring his first try in the tournament and playing four games, including the finals. New Zealand went on to win the World Cup.
In the 1991 World Cup, Jones would miss three games that fell on a Sunday, which conflicted with his religious beliefs. This left Jones being excluded from the 1995 World Cup season as he would miss crucial quarter-final and semi-final games.
Jones provincial rugby success with the Auckland teams from the mid-1980 to the late-1990s, saw him win 9 NPC titles, defend the Ranfurly Shield a record 61 consecutive times from 1985-1993, 5 Super6 Championships and the first two Super12 competitions seasons for 1996 and 1997. He succeeded Zinzan Brooke as captain of the Auckland Blues in 1997, then later retired in the 1999 season after he was dropped from New Zealand in 1998.
Jones served as coach for the Manu Samoa rugby team from 2004-2007.
- Received a New Zealand Medal for Service to the Pacific Island community
- Inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2003
- August 2011 a Bronze sculpture of Michael Jones’ famous try in 1987 was unveiled. He is the only person with Samoan ancestry in New Zealand who has a Bronze sculpture honoring his Legacy in Rugby Union.