If there was a rugby version of Roy of the Rovers then the Huw Jones story would surely be worthy of a strip.
Born in Edinburgh to English parents, raised down south and schooled at the famous Millfield, he went to Cape Town to study but almost unintentionally became a professional rugby player.
A Saltire next to his name on his university team’s Wikipedia page put him on Scotland’s radar and the rest is history, quite literally.
Jones’s stunning double against England on Saturday will go down in Scottish rugby folklore as the Calcutta Cup was regained in a spine-tingling 25-13 victory.
The centre’s second try, especially, was comic-book stuff as he burst through the English defence just inside the opposition half and dragged two defenders the last ten feet over the line in what was a remarkable showcase of skill and power. It was the rugby equivalent of Hot Shot Hamish cannonballing one in against England from 45 yards and through the top corner of the Hampden net.
Jones now has ten tries in just 14 caps which, at its current rate, could see him overtake Stuart Hogg (17) and Tommy Seymour (16) and push for the Scotland try record of 22 jointly held by Ian Smith and Tony Stanger.
Jones admitted that his first of the afternoon, profiting from a bobble and ricochet following Finn Russell’s grubber owed a bit more to luck.
“I’m not really sure how that happened,” he said. “I managed to squeeze it through three players and just dive over the line, but a try’s a try so I’ll take it.”
He played a big part in the second try, finished off by Sean Maitland, as he surged on to Russell’s long looping pass over Jonathan Joseph’s head.
“I’ve told the guys, I haven’t really got a step, so I thought ‘I’ve got to go straight here’,” said Jones with a laugh. “I managed to get tackled close enough to the line that I could just about get over.
“Probably most 10s I’ve played with wouldn’t be able to do it. To have the confidence to do it in a game like that. That’s the way Finn is, that’s his character, the way he plays. Risk and reward and he got his rewards today.”
Russell’s spellbinding return to form came as no shock to his Glasgow team-mate. “I’m not surprised,” said Jones. “Finn is Finn. He’s different to anyone I know. He came back in the only way he can. He’s got amazing confidence and we’ve all got massive confidence in him and his ability. I think he got helped out a lot by the other senior players this week.
“He’s been chatting to Greig [Laidlaw, pictured right] a lot and I think it definitely helped him. To bounce back with a game like that, he was fantastic today.”
Jones doesn’t just have a habit of scoring tries – he has now scored in five straight games at BT Murrayfield – but a habit of doing it against the big teams. Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and England, he also bagged a double in defeat at Twickenham last year, have been unable to contain his clinical eye for the tryline.
Asked if he raises his game for these occasions he replied: “I think the whole team does. For these bigger games there’s a real buzz around camp and training.
“It’s not just me who does the work for these tries, it’s off the back of a lot of phases. We all raise our game.”
Jones was described in commentary on Saturday as “rugby’s Harry Kane” but played down comparisons with the ruthless poacher’s instincts of great football strikers.
“If you’re in the position to be greedy you can but if there is a better option you take it,” said Jones. “When you get an opportunity I suppose that white line fever kicks in. If you can make it you make it.”
Jones will now look to add another against Ireland to his burgeoning tally when Scotland travel to Dublin a week on Saturday looking to right the wrongs of recent away letdowns and stake a claim for the title.
“This [England] game is obviously a massive confidence booster. We’re under no illusions, we’ve got a really tough away game now [against Ireland]. “We’ve turned Murrayfield into a bit of a fortress now. I think in our last nine games we’ve lost one and that was a real close one [against New Zealand]. If we’re going to become a really great team we’re going to have to start winning away, which we haven’t really done for a while. That next game is a massive test and that’s what we’re thinking about now.
“A lot of people will say England maybe didn’t have their best game today and if Ireland have their best game it will be a much tougher game. They’ll have the crowd, they’ll have the sort of lift that we got today from our supporters. We’ll have to up that performance.”