RHODRI Jones completed his life-long dream by making his Wales debut last weekend.
The 20-year-old tight-head prop, from Machynlleth, started his first game for Wales in last weekend’s 30-21 victory over the Barbarians at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Jones stepped up to the Welsh set-up having represented the national under 20s side, following his emergence with Llanelli.
Last season the Pennal-raised prop made his breakthrough with the Scarlets regional side, with 26 appearances for the Welsh giants, to earn a cap against the Barbarians and a call-up to the the 34-man Welsh squad which set out for Australia this week.
Jones revealed the success of Llandrindod Wells prop Dan Lydiate at national level had given him the belief to follow his dream into the professional ranks of Welsh rugby.
Both players come from rural Mid Wales and both grew up in agricultural backgrounds.
“Dan and I regularly talk about tractors at training,” said Jones. “We used to have a Zeta tractor on my farm, now we have a Landini”
The two players also have rugby playing siblings, with Dan Lydiate’s elder brother Jack a former Pontypool and Ebbw Vale player, while Rhodri is the youngest of three rugby playing brothers.
Dylan and Iwan Jones are both key figures for hometown club Machynlleth in Gogledd Cymru Division Two and he has credited his early rugby education to his brothers.
“I used to play against my brothers Dylan and Iwan on the farm and I learned a lot off them.”
Jones insisted his emergence as a potential national team star would not change him and he plans to stay grounded by working on the family farm.
“I worked on the farm every day as a youngster and I enjoyed it.
“I still work on it when I go home. Farming is great. Instead of being in the gym all the time you are working different muscles and get fit in a more all round sense.
“Rather than having to get in awkward positions for bench presses and squats, you just get on with your everyday work and it’s definitely benefited me.
“Getting capped is a fantastic honour. I’ve been looking forward to the day since I started playing rugby. It’s every boy’s dream.”