Former Wales captain Kingsley Jones has completed his New Zealand self-isolation to attend his father’s funeral in Auckland.
Phil Kingsley Jones, the Welshman who managed New Zealand rugby great Jonah Lomu, died aged 72 earlier in October.
His son has made the trip to New Zealand from Canada for a five-week trip including a month of quarantine.
“I’m thankful. I’m here and get that opportunity to say farewell to him,” said Canada coach Jones.
The former Dragons coach travelled from his home in Vancouver to Auckland and has spent 14 days in self-isolation at a hotel.
He will spend four days with his New Zealand family before returning to Canada where he will spend another two week in self-isolation.
Jones was given an exemption from Immigration New Zealand to enter the country, which he applied to enter on humanitarian grounds.
“It’s been tough at times,” said Jones.
“The toughest challenge was what I’ve been through in the last few months with Dad being ill and then trying to get into the country for the funeral was stressful.
“I was trying to go through the process and the information I had to provide to get into New Zealand was overwhelming.
“It’s a tough thing losing someone, but you have the added pressure of fighting to try get to the funeral which is a distraction, because you can’t grieve.
“You are also under immense pressure and can easily get frustrated and stressed with.
“My family have been great and I have to thank New Zealand immigration for allowing me to come.”
Jones has kept himself busy with work and developing a daily routine.
“I have been fortunate in my hotel where we have access to an exercise area which is basically the car park, but we’ve been able to go there between 8AM and 5PM at our own leisure,” said Jones.
“I have been walking around in circles like a caged tiger on the telephone for maybe an hour and a half most mornings to get some exercise before going out for a jog.
“I have also got an exercise bike sent through as part of a mini-gym by my family here in New Zealand.”
Jones was released from self-isolation a day before the funeral at Counties Rugby club where his father will be given a strong send-off on Friday, 16 October.
“Some restrictions in Auckland have been lifted which means we can have the funeral dad wanted with as many people as wanted to attend,” said Jones.
“It looks like it’s going to be around 300 people at the moment. So it’s a big day and fitting for him.
“He touched so many people’s lives, particularly the Polynesian people from south Auckland from 18 year old to 80-year-old guys, he’s got friends everywhere so that’s going to be a big day.”
Before the crematorium service on Monday and hours before travelling back to Canada, Jones has been given two tickets for Sunday’s New Zealand and Australia Test match at Eden Park, which is due to be played in front of 47,000 fans.
The tickets were provided by former Wales and New Zealand coach Sir Graham Henry.
“I’ve been very lucky, Sir Graham Henry has given me two tickets so that’s the silver lining for me. It’ll be nice to go to a rugby match with a full crowd,” said Jones.
“I speak to him quite a bit and through this process, Graham was one of the people I shared with about dad being ill.
“I had a great long chat with him and I mentioned about the game and he got me some tickets which I appreciate. It’s something to brighten up the weekend and it’s going to be a great game.”