Wales-born Phil Kingsley Jones, who has died at the age of 72, was revered by people in Counties Manukau rugby, and deserves a special place in the hearts of All Black fans too.
Without him, Jonah Lomu might have played out his career in Australian league.
Not once, but twice, it was Lomu's Welsh father figure who kept him in New Zealand.
When the All Blacks played a festival game in Greymouth in the lead-up to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Lomu was told by coach Laurie Mains and Brian Lochore (the All Black campaign manager) that if the team for the Cup was named that weekend he wouldn't be in because he wasn't fit enough to play the rugby they wanted from him.
Lomu was devastated, his angst even greater when he saw an item on TV3's news saying he would definitely not be going to South Africa.
He believed it.
Kingsley Jones, by then Lomu's manager, got a 4am phone call from Lomu, who was in tears. "He was in a terrible state," Kingsley Jones would later say, "and ready to go to league. I told him to put it out of his mind, and get down to Dunedin for the North-South game. Fortunately he went."
Lomu stayed with rugby, and at the 95 World Cup became the biggest star the sport has ever seen. The stocky, wise-cracking Welshman, and the quiet, towering teenager seemed an unlikely duo, but until they fell out over a relatively minor business deal in 2004, they were inseparable.
Kingsley Jones had come to New Zealand in 1983, driving a truck during the week, propping a rugby scrum for Mt Wellington on Saturday afternoons, and working as a stand-up comic on Saturday nights.
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At the height of his show business success in the 90s he sold out shows when on stage with former All Black Stu Wilson, and the duo published five big selling books.
Kingsley Jones started working with the Counties Manukau Rugby Union in 1989, and first crossed paths with Lomu when the already massive South Aucklander teenager was at Wesley College.
In 1994, a year before rugby went professional, Lomu was offered a $300,000 a year deal to play league for the Canterbury Bulldogs in Sydney. Dropped by the All Blacks after two tests against France in 1994, and disillusioned with rugby, Lomu decided to sign with the Bulldogs. He asked Kingsley Jones to draw up a formal contract to manage him.
At the time Kingsley Jones said he would manage Lomu, but on one crucial condition - he had to stick with rugby, and when he wins back his place in the All Blacks, had to give Kingsley Jones his jersey.
And so it was that Kingsley Jones would receive a 95 World Cup jersey from Jonah, and Lomu would be the key - "Get me that big guy or there's no deal," Rupert Murdoch reportedly said to his chief negotiator at the time - to a $US555 million television contract for Southern Hemisphere rugby.
The Counties Manukau Union played a massive role in Kingsley Jones' life. He worked for them for 15 years in total over two stints, finishing his full-time roles in 2017. He was then made a lifetime ambassador for the union, and the lounge at the Steelers' home ground in Pukekohe was named after him. Kingsley Jones' initials will now be on the Steelers' jerseys for the remainder of this season.
He would fill both coaching and business roles with Counties, and former Steelers captain, Errol Brain, says that "Phil's larger than life personality, sharp brain, and ability to think outside the square were great gifts". There were also stints for Kingsley Jones as coach of Tonga before they made the 1999 World Cup.
To say Kingsley Jones was a sociable man is like saying the pope has a fairly close interest in Catholicism.
Brain was almost certainly stating the facts when he suggested that "Phil would be one of the only people who could walk into any rugby club in the world and know someone who would want to buy him a beer."
Kingsley Jones is survived by his wife Verina, three children Kingsley, Vikki, and Rhianon, their partners, and his 10 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.