'Nervous' Jones takes his Stormers chance
Cape Town - It has been some year for Stormers centre Huw Jones.
In fact, the last few years have been special.
Since arriving on South African shores in 2012 for a gap year at Bishops, the Scotsman has seen his life turned upside down.
He soon found himself enrolled at the University of Cape Town where he played in the 2014 Varsity Cup for Ikey Tigers.
A year later he was called up to the Western Province Varsity Cup side and then, in 2015, he made his Super Rugby debut.
Jones' journey into the Stormers setup has seemingly gone under the radar for large parts, but that has all changed over the past month.
First came a Test debut for Scotland against Japan in June and then, this past weekend, Jones became the 13th man in Super Rugby history to score four tries in a match when he helped his side to a commanding 52-24 win over the Kings in Cape Town.
Nobody has scored more than that in a single match.
It was the 22-year-old's first start of the season, and he took full advantage of his opportunity.
Now, despite Dan du Plessis being declared fit to face the Chiefs in Saturday's quarter-final at Newlands, it is hard to see coach Robbie Fleck leaving out Jones.
He is well-spoke, strangely shy and clearly passionate about his rugby.
"I wouldn’t say I was particularly hyped up, maybe a little nervous... first start of the year," Jones told media on Monday of his showing against the Kings.
"I didn’t know there was a record... it’s quite a nice achievement, I suppose. It’s not just me, there are quite a few other guys who have done it, but it’s always nice to get on the scoresheet."
Jones says that, even though he only played one Test match over the international break, it was enough to ensure that he came back to the Stormers with a renewed sense of confidence.
He had been heavily linked to make his Test debut for England, but in the end Scotland came calling first and Jones had no hesitation.
"You’ve got to take opportunities when you get them and I wasn’t expecting the call to Scotland but when I did get it, it was nice. To get an international cap was really nice as well," he said.
"It wasn’t too difficult a decision. It’s quite hard to say ‘no’ to international rugby and I could never just wait around and hope for a call from someone else. And, obviously, I am Scottish.
"Now, considering myself an international player does give a guy confidence."
Jones has played against New Zealand opposition just once in Super Rugby - last season's 25-20 loss to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
He scored a try that day, and that perhaps explains why he is approaching this weekend's clash without any fear.
"All the New Zealand teams have great players and there is a lot of talent over there," he said.
"I don’t think it’s going to be massively different... we know what to expect and we know what we’re up against.
"I don’t think it’s going to be a big shock. I also don’t think it’s right to put the opposition up on a pedestal either."
Fleck is expected to name his side for Saturday's clash on Thursday.