Jones happy to put body on line for Wiki - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones happy to put body on line for Wiki

09/10/2008 05:19:28 PM Comments (0)

Stacey Jones admits the body will struggle a bit when he comes out of retirement to play one last game of rugby league in honour of good mate Ruben Wiki.

Jones will be the starting halfback for the All Golds against the New Zealand Maori in New Plymouth on Sunday.

The All Golds are drawn primarily from the Kiwi squad preparing for the World Cup, with the addition of Jones, Wiki and another former international in Logan Swann.

For Wiki and Swann, the match will be their final one in New Zealand now that their time in the National Rugby League has come to an end.

Wiki asked Jones to be part of the All Golds a couple of months ago and the "Little General" went back into training in preparation.

"But I don't expect to be out there for the whole game, and I wouldn't be able to anyway," he said.

"I'll just duck and dive wherever I can and have a small involvement."

Wiki and Jones' Kiwi careers virtually overlap.

Wiki, 35, made his debut in 1994 and went on to amass a world record 55 caps. Jones, 32, played 46 tests from 1995.

The pair, who spent one season together at club level with the New Zealand Warriors in 2005, retired from international football after the 2006 Tri-Nations.

Jones went on to complete one more Super League season with French club Les Catalans before a swansong appearance with the All Golds against the Northern Union in England last October.

He said he had to think twice when Wiki sounded him out about putting his boots back on because he hadn't played for so long.

But Jones felt honoured to have been asked to be part of a special occasion for someone who had given so much to the game in New Zealand.

"He puts pride in the New Zealand jersey and is so passionate about it," he said.

"He puts his team-mates first. That's the sort of bloke he is. "If we can repay him in a small way, then that's good. He's a great mate of mine and what he has done for New Zealand rugby league has been outstanding."

At the start of the year, Jones took the job of kicking coach at the Warriors, where he spent 11 seasons as a player, making a club record 238 first-class appearances.

He said was looking forward to running with the likes of Kiwi five-eighth Benji Marshall for the All Golds.

"It's going to be great to be out there with them, even though they'll be halfway up the field and I'll be at the back," he said.

"This is the start of the campaign for the Kiwis. It's a serious game for all of us and we want to kick things off on the right foot."

Jones said going into camp this week had brought back fond memories of his international days.

"You wish you could still run around and that," he said.

"But I've had my time and to be asked to be involved in this is brilliant."

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