The dynamic and gifted performer has decided that, after fifteen years of service to Counties Manukau Rugby, it is time to blow the final whistle on an illustrious career with the union. However, he has been made an ambassador of the Provincial Union he loves so much and, fittingly, the lounge in which he has entertained thousands of people will now be named the Phil Kingsley Jones Lounge.
“I love Counties, and anyone who knows me would tell you that. I have put my heart and soul into this Union over the years that I have been here, but now it is appropriate to step back to be able to spend more time with my family. I am honoured the Union is naming the lounge after me and making me an ambassador.
“I will still do my public speaking and help people, but I think that the time is right to let someone else take over the reins, however I will never be far away if they need me for anything. The last eight years have been a fantastic time of success and growth for Counties with the Championship win, the historic Ranfurly Shield victory and staying in the Premiership being some of the highlights.
“I want to thank my beautiful family, the people I have worked with, including the players who I have a special relationship with, and the Counties sponsors and supporters who I have a huge love for. We have the best Union in the country and I have been lucky to work with such great people,” said the popular rugby man and comedian.
Former Steelers and Maori captain Errol Brain said “To hear that Counties is going to name the lounge after Phil and he will be the Union ambassador is an absolute reflection and recognition of all of the work Phil has done for the Union over a very long period of time.
“For me personally, I hold Phil as a dear friend and an absolute champion person. I have very fond memories of my time as Steelers captain with Phil. He helped me overcome my fear of public speaking and gave me training, which made a huge difference as it’s a skill I use to this day. I wish Phil all the best for his future. He will be well remembered and known as a great man who represented this Union with pride, passion and a twist of humour.”
Brain’s sentiments were echoed by current PIC Steelers co-captain Augustine Pulu who said, “Phil has been such a huge part of Counties. His wisdom, knowledge and support for the players and the Union has been unreal. We love him and are grateful for everything he has done for us, and wish him and his family all the best. We look forward to seeing him every game day.“
Phil Kingsley Jones has worked for Counties Manukau Rugby for 15 years over two periods. The first time was from 1989–1996 and the second spell began in 2009. During that time, he has fulfilled many roles at the Union including coaching co-ordinator, coaching director, coach of the development team, coach of junior representative teams (including the Counties U16’s who beat Australia), sponsorship and business development manager. He also coached the Tongan national team, taking them on two tours to South Africa and the United Kingdom, which helped them qualify for the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Phil Kinglsey Jones was also a player agent and is best known for managing and mentoring the world’s biggest rugby star and Counties legend, Jonah Lomu.
Counties Manukau Rugby CEO Bart Hoggard said, “Phil’s contribution to Counties rugby has been enormous. We are delighted that he has agreed to fulfil an ambassadorial role for the union and believe that the naming of our main lounge as the “The Phil Kingsley Jones Lounge” is a fitting tribute to a proud Counties man.”