As a former Welsh international, Kingsley Jones is used to being one of several Joneses on the roster.
This weekend, the Canada rugby coach is assisting an Australian namesake in Eddie Jones with the two coaching the Barbarians against a World XV in Sunday’s Killik Cup rugby game at Twickenham.
Kingsley Jones is savouring the moment. The two all-star sides feature more than 1,250 international caps between them.
“It’s been excellent to just have a couple of meetings with [vice-captain] Quade Cooper, [captain] Alun Wyn Jones and a couple of others and then to go our on the field and within 40 minutes, [to see] the growth in a team. They look like a team in 40 minutes,” he said from London. “There’s that much experience and confidence to just organize themselves.”
Kingsley Jones, a former Wales captain, played twice for the Barbarians in 2000, joining the likes of Jonah Lomu, Agustin Pichot, Lawrence Dallaglio, Thomas Castaignede, Zinzan Brooke, Robert Howley and Neil Jenkins, helping the famed all-star invitational side to wins over Ireland at Lansdowne Road and Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.
“I just kept pinching myself to think how lucky I was. It was probably 70 per cent of the World Cup final [lineups] from ‘95 – Springboks and All Blacks,” he recalled. “The biggest thing I take from it was the humility that came from everyone and the respect that everybody had for each other. It was an incredible experience.
Kingsley Jones also served as assistant coach to Philippe Saint-Andre in a 29-23 win over Ireland at Thomond Park and 35-26 loss to England at Twickenham, both in 2010.
“Fantastic memories and a fantastic opportunity now to spend time with like-minded people. We all love the game.” he said. “Particularly the passion Eddie has for the game. I’m sure I’ll pick up a lot even though it’s just a week. Just observing and working with him is a great opportunity for me. But also I learn from the players. You learn from good players. So I’m excited about that too.”
For Eddie Jones, now in charge of Australia, it’s a return to Twickenham. He coached England from 2015 to ‘22.
The two Jones have known each other since 2007 when they met In New Zealand on a rugby course put on by former All Black Murray Mexted, now managing director of the International Rugby Academy.
The Barbarians, an invitational side known for its free-flowing style of rugby, date back to 1890. Once invited, a player becomes a life member of the famous club.
Canadians to have played for the Barbarians men’s and women’s teams include sisters Kelly and Laura Russell, Karen Paquin and World Rugby Hall of Famers Al Charron and Gareth Rees as well as Tyler Ardron, Mark Wyatt, David Lougheed, Glen Ennis, Rod Snow, James Pritchard, Jason Marshall, Sean Duke and Kevin Tkachuk.
Ardron captained the Barbarians in 2019.
In the early 1960s, the Barbarians asked B.C.’s Douglas (Buzz) Moore to play against Canada while on tour in Britain. He declined, leading the Canadians to a 3-3 tie against the all-stars. The Barbarians made him an “honorary Barbarian.”
The World XV is led by former New Zealand coach Steve Hansen and former All Black player Brad Mooar. Kingsley Jones and Hansen faced off at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan when the All Blacks thumped Canada 63-0 in pool play.
The fixture against the World XV marks the first game at Twickenham for the Barbarians since a 52-21 victory over England in June, 2022. They then retained the Killik Cup in November, 2022, courtesy of a 35-31 win over an All Blacks XV in front of 35,000 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.