Rugby Union: All Blacks lose Jones

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL JONES yesterday withdrew from the All Blacks' tour of England and Scotland after breaking his jaw in a collision during a training session with Auckland. 'It was a freak accident,' the province's coach, Graham Henry, lamented, writes Steve Bale.

The nonpareil flanker will be out of rugby for four weeks, meaning he could still be put on stand- by as a potential replacement. The tourists do not leave New Zealand until Sunday week and their final game is not until 4 December.

Jones's absence will be less of a problem than when he was in his pomp. Against the Lions during the summer his form fell below the remarkable standards of earlier years. In addition there is a queue of outstanding open sides waiting to fill his place.

Another Aucklander, Mark Carter, is one of them but the likeliest choice is Duane Monkley, of the new Ranfurly Shield holders Waikato, with Josh Kronfeld, superb for Otago against the Lions four months ago, another outstanding contender.

Newcastle Gosforth yesterday dropped five players in an attempt to improve on their dismal start to the season. Dave Johnson and Steve Douglas, the half-backs, are left out along with Neil Frankland, the captain and hooker, for Saturday's game against Leicester Tigers at Kingston Park.