RHODRI Jones is determined to make the most of his golden opportunity after he was given the Wales No 3 jersey ahead of Adam Jones, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The 6ft 3in and 18st 3lb tighthead prop represents the new generation, the 22-year-old making his first Six Nations start tomorrow in the clash against Scotland.
And while time won’t be called on Adam Jones’ career just yet, the 33-year-old legend, who is 6ft and 18st 12lb, is coming to end of a glorious career that has seen him win 93 caps, be an integral part of three Grand Slams and first choice on two British and Irish Lions tours.
For Rhodri Jones, a farmer’s son from the village of Pennal, on the Gwynedd-Powys border just outside Machynlleth, it is an honour to be preferred to a true great.
And he revealed the grizzled veteran was magnanimous when he found out he had been relegated to the replacements’ bench following last week’s bitterly disappointing 29-18 defeat to England at Twickenham.
It wasn’t a vintage performance by Adam Jones in a loss which signalled the end of Wales’ ambitions to lift their third successive Six Nations title.
Wales’ scrum struggled badly and the tighthead has paid the price along with hooker Richard Hibbard, also dropped to the bench, while loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins keeps his place for a match which sees him break the record as his country’s most capped player with 105 Tests to his name.
And Rhodri Jones said grand old man Adam Jones told him he would only be too glad to assist the Scarlets player develop in the future.
“Adam came up to me straightaway to congratulate me and showed he was really keen to help me,” he said.
“That was a very nice gesture. I would not say I am replacing him because he still has the opportunity coming off the bench and I am sure he will want to do his best to get back in the starting side.
“I just have to do my best to keep him out.”
He added: “I have seen him as an icon over the years and every young Welsh prop would look at to Adam.
“He is a great player in the scrummage and around the field.
“He has been around for a long time and I am sure he will be around for a while.
“I just have to do my best.”