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Brian Jones


One of the Honorary Life Members of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, Brian Jones, also known as "BJ - The Little Welshman" set aside a few minutes of his time to speak to bluebulls.co.za

 

1 Tell us about your relationship with the Blue Bulls?

My relationship with the Blue Bulls or Northern Transvaal (as they were in 1958) began in May1958 when I played at Loftus Versfeld for the Touring Barbarians as one of their games on their six match tour of South Africa and East Africa.
The Barbarians had opened their tour with a 17-17 draw versus Transvaal at Ellis Park, lost to Western Transvaal (3-11) at Potchefstroom, lost to Western Province (8-9) at Newlands before arriving at Loftus on 21st May to play the current Currie Cup holders.

We were captained by the Great Llanelli & Wales lock forward Rhys H Williams. Williams was one of the rocks of the 1955 British Lions Team to South Africa - a team described by the legendary Dr Danie Craven as the finest rugby team to tour South Africa.

 

2 Did you manage to beat Northern Transvaal in their own back-yard?

We won the game against Northern Transvaal 13-9.

Our tries were scored by two of the greatest names in world rugby - Tony O Reilly & Cliff Morgan. Wales' fullback Terry Davies converted both and kicked a penalty goal.

Northern Transvaal's tries were scored by Louis Schmidt (Uli's dad) and A Ferreira. A Du Plessis was successful with a drop goal.

We completed the tour by losing 16-18 to a Combined Transvaal XV at Ellis Park and defeating East Africa by 52-12. Tony O Reilly scored seven tries against East Africa which is still a Barbarian record.

It was a great tour and a privilege to play with so many great players and commence friendships that have lasted for over 50 years.
It was the start of a wonderful friendship with a wonderful country and wonderful people.

 

3 When did you visit South Africa again?

In 1973 I was coach of Newport RFC when they visited Loftus as guests of Northern Transvaal and I was a selector when they visited again in 1979.

 

4 Tell us about your involvement in later years

I played a major part in ensuring that a World Team toured South Africa to celebrate the Centenary of SA Rugby Union in 1989 and that Pontypridd came out in November 1994 to open the new floodlights.

During the 1990s I was responsible for being involved with Northern Transvaal's tour arrangements to the UK as well as those of Pretoria RC and the Falcons.

Over the last 15 years I have arranged for Wales u19 and school teams to play at and visit Loftus.

It would be impossible to list all the people I have played against or been involved in a coaching/administrative capacity at Loftus for the last 50 years (all of whom I consider friends) but the longest standing include Prof Fritz Eloff, Robert Denton, Jannie Oosthuizen, Hans Straeuli, Dr Rautenbach, Mac van Vuuren, Daan Swiegers, Buurman van Zyl, Hentie Serfontein, Kitch Christie, Piet Olivier, Wynie Strydom, John Williams, Willie Marais, Hans Brewis, Thys Lourens, Frik du Preez, Naas Botha, Johan Heunis, Robert Du Preez, Joost van der Westhuizen and Jack Olivier.

 

5 Is it true that you played first class rugby from 1953-1967?

Yes, I played centre, fullback and flyhalf for Newport RFC from 1953 until 1967. I played 328 games and scored 102 tries.
In 1957 we clapped Australia 11-0, and as an 18-year-old I played against New Zealand in 1953. In 1963 I again played against the All Blacks and we beat them 3-0 on that occasion.

I was captain for the 1959-1960 season as well as the 1960-1961 season when we played against Avril Malan's Springboks.
I also played for the Royal Marines, Royal Navy & Combined Services during my two years National Service. I played for Crawshays Welsh XV on twelve Tours (captain on six of these tours) and I have played on 10 occasions for the Barbarians including the game in 1961 when we defeated the Springboks at Cardiff Arms Park.

 

6 What about your coaching career?

I coached Newport RFC for five years during which we won the English/Welsh Championship and Welsh Championship.
We also beat Dawie de Villiers' Springboks 11-6.
I coached Oxford University when Tommy Bedford & Bob Phillips(Newport) were captains. I was a member of the first ever WRU Coaching Committee – we were responsible for appointing the first ever Coaching Organiser in World Rugby (Ray Williams) and first Wales Coach (David Nash).

 

7 You hold a very special record against the Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies..

One record that I am very proud of is that I am the only Welsh player in the modern era of the game that played against and beat the Springboks, All Blacks and Wallabies.
In 1961 I played for the Barbarians that beat the Springboks.
In 1963 I played for Newport RFC when we thumped the All Blacks and in 1957 we beat the Wallabies.

 

8 Who is the other Welsh player that recorded the same feat?

The only other Welsh player in the history of the game that can claim such a record is Percy Bush in 1905-1908.

 

9 Is it possible to follow the Super 14 and Currie Cup in the UK?

Yes we get live matches via Sky TV.
I have no problem in watching my province and you can't imagine the celebrations that took place in my Lounge when Bryan Habana scored THAT TRY against the Sharks in last year's Super 14 final.

 

10 How often do you visit South Africa?

My wife and I try to visit our second home at least once a year, sometimes twice and on the odd occasion three times.

11 Did you ever play test rugby for Wales?

I played for Wales vs. Ireland (Lansdown Road winning 10-9) and against France (Cardiff Arms Park losing 14-8, but scoring a try) in the 5 Nations in 1960. I was on the reserve bench on many occasions during the late 1950's and early 1960's.

 

12 How strong/healthy is rugby in the Northern Hemisphere?

Rugby is strong in the Northern Hemisphere with the talent being centered around less teams than pre 1995. This is due to professionalism and restructuring geographically for monetary/business reasons.

All this has meant that here in Wales we now have a pond of potential International talent instead of a RESERVOIR!

 

13 Who were some of the best rugby players you have even seen?

Thought I would answer this question by naming my best Springbok & Wales XV since my introduction to senior rugby in 1953.

 

My best Welsh team:

15 J.P.R.Williams (L.Welsh)
14 *Ken J Jones (Newport)
13 *Malcolm Thomas (Newport)
12*Bleddyn Williams (Cardiff)
11 Shane Williams (Neath)
10 *Cliff Morgan (Cardiff)
9 Gareth Edwards (Cardiff)
8 Mervyn Davies (L. Welsh)
7 Martyn Williams (Pontypridd)
6 Dai Morris (Neath)
5* Roy John (Neath)
4 * Rhys Williams (Llanelli)
3 *Courtney Meredith(Neath)
2 *Bryn Meredith (Newport)
1 Graham Price(Pontypool)

* Played with or against these players

 

My best Springbok team:
15 * HO de Villiers / Andre Joubert
14 Carel du Plessis
13 Danie Gerber
12 *John Gainsford
11 Bryan Habana
10 Naas Botha
9 Joost van der Westhuizen
8 *Doug Hopwood
7 Jan Ellis
6 Ruben Kruger
5 Victor Matfield
4 *Frik du Preez
3 *Hannes Marais
2 Uli Schmidt
1 Os du Randt

* Played with or against these players

14 Do you rate the current Bulls' team?

When the current Blue Bulls are at full strength they are a formidable team comparable with teams of the past.

Looking back over the last 50years I often substitute certain players and combinations into the current team for example Johan Heunis at fullback, Naas Botha & Joost van der Westhuizen as the half-backs and Frik du Preez in the back row – what quality rugby they would have produced!

15 What does it mean to you to be an Honorary Life Member of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union?

Being Made An Honorary Life Member of BBRU / NTRU and receiving "my Blazer" from President Hentie Serfontein in 1995 was one of the greatest and proudest moments of my whole rugby career and I still wear my Blazer with honour and great pride both in South Africa and here in Wales.

16 Thanks for your time! Tell us quickly about your nicknames.

"BJ - The Little Welshman" was a nickname bestowed on me by Dr Louis Luyt in the early 1990s.

Up until then I had been christened by Dr Danie Craven as " Mr Newport " from the early 1960s, while "BJ" came into use during my early years at Newport as my team mates differentiated between all the Jones's in the team.





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