Adam Jones would love to pack down against two close friends in the British & Irish Lions’ tour opener against the Barbarians on June 1.
Jones will press his claims for inclusion in Hong Kong during this week’s training camp in Wales and next week’s sessions in Ireland while fellow tighthead Dan Cole is back with Aviva Premiership finalists Leicester.
The 2009 Test Lion could come up against current Ospreys team-mate Duncan Jones and former club colleague Paul James after the pair were both named in the Baa-Baas party and he admits one of the most special experiences in sport could be made even more memorable this time around.
“I remember Ian McGeechan saying about the 1997 tour how special it would be to play in the first game and be given that first jersey,” said Jones.
“This one is a little more special being with the game being against the Barbarians in Hong Kong because it is an historic match.
“You want to be involved in that first game and we will just see what happens in the next three weeks with training and what (head coach Warren) Gatland thinks.
“It will be strange because I have not played against Paul since I was about 16. Duncan is there as well so that will be very strange potentially packing down against two of my best mates.
“Paul might think he has a point to prove after missing out with the Lions because he has had an excellent season. Maybe I will call him before and we will have a gentleman’s agreement!”
Jones’ form on his first Lions adventure and his recent showing in Wales’ win over England has seen him installed as the favourite to wear the No3 shirt in the Test series with the Qantas Wallabies but the Welshman insists he doesn’t see things that way.
Instead, he believes he, Cole and Saracens’ Matt Stevens will all begin on an equal footing, with his experiences in 2009 showing that anything is possible with Britain and Ireland’s elite.
“Everyone starts with a clean slate,” added Cole.
“I probably went out to South Africa as third choice and ended up in the Test team. It showed that no one can take anything for granted.
“People are picking their Lions teams now after originally playing Lions squads. But it will be chosen on form, especially when you look at someone like Gats who is picking the squad.
“Dan and Matt are both good players. Dan Cole is probably quite similar to myself, whereas Matt Stevens offers something different.”