Lewis Jones obituary: Leeds Rhinos 'Golden Boy' of rugby and Welsh international who never lost his love for Headingley

Lewis Jones, who has died at 92, was a former Leeds and Great Britain rugby league international and Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby union full-back.

Only Kevin Sinfield scored more goals or points for Leeds than Jones, who was signed from Welsh rugby union and won Great Britain caps in both codes. He achieved legendary status in 1961 when he led Leeds to their first Championship success, scoring a try and five goals in a famous 25-10 defeat of Warrington at Odsal.

Known as the “ Golden Boy ” and “ King of Rugger” , Jones joined Leeds for a record £6,000 fee in 1952 and remained at the club until 1964, scoring 2,920 points – from 144 tries and 1,244 goals – in 385 games. He left Leeds for a new career as player/coach at the Wentworthville club in Australia, but later returned to his adopted city and was a regular attender at matches until this season

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He worked as a maths teacher at Silver Royd High School in Leeds following his return from Australia and always retained his love for Headingley, where a suite in the East Stand is named in his honour.

Leeds Rugby League Player Lewis Jones in his playing days. He died aged 92,Leeds Rugby League Player Lewis Jones in his playing days. He died aged 92,
Leeds Rugby League Player Lewis Jones in his playing days. He died aged 92,

Born in April 1931 in Gorseinon, Swansea, Jones was educated at Gowerton Grammar and played club rugby for Neath before national service in the Navy from 1949, a month after his 18th birthday. Upon discharge he joined Llanelli and won his first cap for Wales against England in 1950. This was a match Jones might easily have missed as he had been about to depart for Hong Kong on board an aircraft carrier until the orders were countermanded on discovering that he was a rugby player.

The same year he played for the British Lions, having been flown out as a replacement for an injured player on the tour to New Zealand and Australia, and playing in three test matches. He scored 63 points in seven games in New Zealand and 16 points against Australia in Brisbane.

It was in November 1952 that he signed for Leeds club for a fee that would equal £500,000 in today’s money. A broken arm prevented him having much impact in his first season but in 1953–54 he scored 302 points and he first represented Wales in 1953 against France.

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In 2013 Jones, along with three other former players, was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

His final public appearance at Headingley was on Boxing Day last year, when he took part in the on-field celebrations following Rhinos’ win over Wakefield Trinity.

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