WELLINGTON: Phil Kingsley Jones, the agent who helped Jonah Lomu become rugby union's first global personality, has died at the age of 72, New Zealand media reported on Wednesday.
Wales-born Kingsley Jones, whose son Kingsley is the current coach of Canada's men's national team, had been suffering from poor health after a fall several months ago.
The affable Kingsley Jones emigrated to New Zealand from Wales in 1983 and became closely associated with the Counties Manukau rugby union in South Auckland, where he met Lomu before the powerful winger made the All Blacks in 1994.
Lomu's breakthrough performances at the 1995 Rugby World Cup were seen as a major catalyst in the game turning professional later that year and Kingsley Jones managed his career until 2004.
"What he did for Jonah Lomu was ground-breaking," former Counties captain Errol Brain said in comments widely reported by New Zealand media.
"He was the pioneer who turned Jonah into rugby's first global superstar all while keeping him grounded and connected to what was important, which was our region.
"Such was the impact that many of the young ones coming through today still look up to him and are aware of Jonah's legacy."
Lomu died in 2015, shortly after returning from the World Cup in England, from complications related to a kidney disease he battled with throughout his life.
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)