Wales and British & Irish Lions prop Adam Jones will have a major point to prove when he packs down against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday.
The Ospreys tight-head specialist has vowed to prove former Walescoach Steve Hansen wrong for the way he used him at the start of his Test career.
Hansen famously took Jones off after only 30 minutes of one game during his two-year spell in charge between 2002-2004 and claimed he wasn’t fit enough to last a full 80 minutes of international rugby.
“Steve used to wreck me when he was the Walescoach and I can't say what I really think of him. He used to take me off after half-an-hour and I didn't really see eye-to-eye with him,” explained Jones ahead of Saturday’s first Test at Carisbrook.
“It did wreck me then but it has helped me in the long run. I have become more thick-skinned.
“I’m not sure if I’m one of the best props in the world at the moment but, obviously, I want to do well in front of Steve. Then I’ll look forward to catching up with him after the game for a beer.”
Since the embarrassing episode of being substituted so early, Jones has starred in South Africawith the 2009 Lions, won two Grand Slams with Walesas well as two Magners League and an Anglo-Welsh title with the Ospreys.
But Hansen has defended his criticism and said: “I’m really pleased for Adam. We always saw the potential in him, but he could not play longer than that time with the intensity and accuracy required to play at Test level.
“But he has done exceptionally well to come from back then to achieve what he has in the game.”
Jones quipped last night: “I don't believe he has praised me."