Adam Jones has picked the best XV that he played against during his international career for Wales. Adam began his international career during the 2003 Six Nations, and he would later be selected for their 2003 World Cup Squad. He amassed a total of 95 caps for Wales and 5 Test Caps for the British and Irish Lions. During his career he would play in three World Cups and travel on two Lions Tours.
The XV that Adam Jones selected is:
1. Tony Woodcock (New Zealand, 2002-15) – Big, strong and technically excellent in the scrum. Work horse who for me is the best to play the game. 100 plus tests for the All Blacks means he must be decent!
2. Bismarck du Plessis (South Africa, 2007-15) – Freak of a player. Good set piece, good carrier, good defender, great over the ball. Very angry and aggressive, so surprisingly very nice off the pitch.
3. Carl Hayman (New Zealand, 2001-07) – 6’4 but scrummed incredibly low. From 2005 until he finished, he was head and shoulders above the other tightheads.
4. Paul O’Connell (Ireland, 2002-15) – Great player, captain and bloke. Loved his speeches before games, always from the heart with an ever so slight crazy look in his face.
5. Ali Williams (New Zealand, 2002-12) – Loves a chat during and after the game. Good set piece forward who could spiral the ball 50m. Uttered the best line to me during one game, “F*ck me wales is the only team in the world where the players use more fake tan than the wags”!!
6. Jerry Collins (New Zealand, 2001-07) – Another All Black who loves a pint. Was excited when he signed for the Ospreys and turned out to be a top bloke and player for us. Very generous to everyone and anyone, once bought a TV for a pub in the Welsh valleys as the one they had didn’t work. Went to the local Tesco to buy it then sat back down and enjoyed the rest of his day
7. Juan Smith (South Africa, 2003-14) – So athletic, he could do anything. He probably won’t be remembered by the public as much as he was almost an unsung hero of the great Boks team. But you knew all about him when he played.
8. Sergio Parisse (Italy, 2002-19) – Carried a whole team for over a decade. Could carry hard when needed, hands like a centre. Always the best player in the opposition even when playing for his club, that’s how good he was.
9. Fourie du Preez (South Africa, 2004-15) – Class act. Probably better runners around than him for 9, but he could control a game better than anyone. Helped having a huge pack in front of you but he was the general who booked them.
10. Jonny Wilkinson (England, 1998-2011) – Can’t pick Dan carter as Nick Evans would never speak to me again! So I’ll go for the other obvious one, Jonny Wilkinson. Unreal kicker and defender but showed what a player he was when he went to Toulon and was a huge part of their success. Also saw him spend 2 hours after a game sign autographs while everyone else was getting showered and eating and he didn’t miss one person out. Mega impressed. Owen Farrell isn’t far off for me though. Was so impressed when we beat England in 2012 when he only 20! Could see he was going to be class.
11. Bryan Habana (South Africa, 2004-16) – Quick, physical, loved a try. Very good off kick off chasing, pretty much always got around my blindside and tackled the catcher I was supposed to be blocking!
12. Jaque Fourie (South Africa, 2003-14) – Not a 12 but had to have him in my side. Big fella, strong fast. Hard to tackle. Was a huge fan of his…
13. Conrad Smith (New Zealand, 2004-15) – Met him years ago when he rocked UK at Ospreys training with his mate Jason Spice, was about 22 and had just toured with the All Blacks. He trained with us and was cutting us up in 7 defenders v 5 attackers drill which was obviously defenders biased! Was something special, enjoyed the Welsh hospitality as well!
14. Tommy Bowe (Ireland, 2004-17) – Played with him and against him. Was amazing. Count myself lucky to have played with him and Shane at the same time. Very skilful, strong runner but not overly fast! Looked like he was running in quicksand a lot of the time. Another who loved the Welsh hospitality! He was so so good!
15. Chris Latham (Australia, 1998-2007) – Lovely left foot, deceptively quick but also looks like he would have loved a pint straight after the game. Met him when he was coaching Samoa a season or two ago. Turns out he does love a pint!