23 Nov 2018

Teenage rugby sensation commits to Auckland

2:36 pm on 23 November 2018

Teenager Niko Jones, the son of All Blacks great Sir Michael Jones has committed to playing his provincial rugby in Auckland for the next two years however his focus remains Sevens.

Earlier this month Jones signed a sevens contract with New Zealand Rugby and is officially part of the All Black Sevens squad competing in the world series.

Jones, led St Peters College in Auckland to the National 1st XV title this year and also played for the New Zealand Schools side.

Several provincial unions were chasing him but home province won out in the end but Sevens will take priority.

While he hasn't played a lot of the Sevens format, he feels it's the best way to develop his 15 aside skills.

Niko Jones captain of the St Peters College First XV holds the Auckland second schools rugby trophy aloft.

Niko Jones captain of the St Peters College First XV holds the Auckland second schools rugby trophy aloft. Photo: Photosport

"It will be the best place to develop my 15's game...and I will still be learning how to tackle and how to pass whatever and I will be able to transfer that to 15's," he said.

Having seen other players launch their international careers in the sevens environment played a large part in Jones heading down the same path.

"I remember watching Reiko (Ioane) and all those guys doing it out of school and thinking 'wow that's amazing' so for me to be in a similar position is amazing and I never thought I would be here."

Jones introduction to professional sport though hasn't gone as smoothly as hoped - he's suffered a hamstring injury and has been off training for the past couple of weeks although that has allowed to study a bit more and he's just completed his final NCEA Level 3 exams.

"I never thought I would be living the life of a professional (sportsperson) and I have a lot of adjusting to do as I am still a kid and my parents get on my case...so I'm still learning and still growing but I am enjoyig it a lot.

The life of a professional means he will also have to move from Auckland to Mount Maunganui.

"It will be hard being away from my mum and stuff ...but that's the best place for me and I am excited - and it's not too far and mum and dad can come and visit me and I can go back up to Auckland.

Jones accepts he won't be rushed into the Sevens programme and it could be some time before he makes his debut for the All Black Sevens.

"I just have to work hard and do all that I can to get better and the coaches have got a plan to introduce me whenever - but even if not just being in the environment will be beneficial in itself."

Sir Michael Jones at Government House.

Sir Michael Jones. Photo: Photosport