Major teams: Neath, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Harlequins Country: Wales Test span: 2003-2014 Wales caps: 95 (84 starts) Lions caps: 5 (4 starts) Test points: 10 (2T)
Adam Jones was christened ‘Bomb’ in a fond reference to 1990s American wrestler Adam Bomb, who sported similarly curly locks and an identical Christian name.
However, the moniker took on another dimension when Wales’s longest-serving front-rower was at his peak. Destructive scrummaging rendered him a saboteur capable of obliterating opposition set-piece. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than over the first six months of 2013 prior to the introduction of new engagement laws.
On 16 March, England arrived at a raucous Millennium Stadium with designs on a Grand Slam. Runaway flanker Justin Tipuric created two headline-grabbing tries, but Jones dominated the tight exchanges to garner a succession of penalties. Amid an atmosphere heady with emotion, Stuart Lancaster’s side subsided to a 30-3 defeat. They left the Six Nations trophy on the west of the Severn Bridge.
That summer, Australia’s front row was comprehensively undone by a Lions scrum spearheaded by Jones and Alex Corbisiero in all three Tests.
The successful series decider brought Bomb’s international roll of honour to four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, and five Lions caps – the first of which, as a second-half replacement at Durban in 2009, saw Springbok loosehead Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira shackled at Durban after he had turned Phil Vickery inside out.
Four domestic crowns in an 11-season stint with Ospreys underlined Jones’s class, though things were not always straightforward. In the 2003 World Cup quarter-final against England he lasted 27 minutes before being hauled off – a shock he would later admit forced him to confront early-career fitness issues.
Following a decade saturated with silverware, Jones’s 100th Test against South Africa in June 2014 brought a sad symmetry as Warren Gatland replaced him on the half-hour mark.
Exclusion from the 2015 Six Nations squad hastened his international retirement but the most affable of props joined Harlequins to begin a new chapter.
On announcing the signing, Conor O’Shea revealed he had received a text from Joe Marler. The victim of Jones’s formidable performance in Cardiff two years previously had simply written: “Glad he’s on my side now.”