Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric: Experienced Wales duo retire from international rugby four months before World Cup | Rugby Union News

Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric announce retirement from international rugby within hours of each other; both had been named in Wales’ preliminary 54-player training squad for Rugby World Cup; Jones retires as most-capped international, winning 158 caps for Wales and 12 for the Lions

Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric have announced their retirements from international rugby just four months before Wales’ Rugby World Cup campaign begins.

Both players had been named in an extended 54-player training squad for the Rugby World Cup by Wales head coach Warren Gatland earlier this month.

Jones, 37, is the most-capped player in international rugby – winning 158 caps for Wales and 12 with the British and Irish Lions.

“Having been selected in this year’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and after ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and the WRU, I have decided to step away from the international game,” Jones said in a statement on social media.

“So, after 17 years I look back on special memories with Welsh greats and future Welsh greats.

“My grandfather and father both nurtured my passion for rugby in my younger days which has continued throughout. The opportunity to be professional in the sport I love was a dream come true, and to represent my home region, the Ospreys, and clubs within the region, namely Mumbles and particularly Bonymaen who guided me in my formative years, was beyond special and something for which I am hugely grateful.

“A huge thank you to the staff and players who have been part of my journey, I wish you all well for the future.

“To the supporters, thank you for the support and making the most special occasions even more memorable.

“To the people closest to me, my family, I couldn’t have done it without you. Through injury, loss and success, you’ve always been there and will be for whatever’s next.

“Despite all I have accomplished, my children will always be my biggest achievement.”

Tipuric, 33, captained Wales during last year’s autumn internationals but had announced his shock retirement earlier on Friday.

“During the off-season I’ve had time to reflect on my playing career and now seems the right time to step away from international rugby,” Tipuric said in a statement.

“It’s been a privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and have so many great memories.

“I’d like to thank all the players and coaches that I’ve been fortunate enough to work with over the years and the wonderful support I’ve received from the Welsh public.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time at home and putting all my energies into playing for my home region the Ospreys.”

Jones’ international career began in 2006 and he first captained Wales in 2009. He became permanent skipper in 2017 and holds the Welsh record for most caps as captain with 52.

He led the team to the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2019 and was named player of the tournament that year. He won five Six Nations titles with Wales including three Grand Slams. He also featured in four World Cups for Wales in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

Jones is one of only four players be selected to play on four British and Irish Lions tours. He captained the squad on the 2021 tour of South Africa, and was also captain for the 2013 series decider against Australia.

Tipuric made his Wales debut in 2011 and helped them win the Six Nations in 2012, 2013, 2019 and 2021. He was also part of the Wales squads that reached the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals in 2015 and semi-finals in 2019.

‘AWJ given indication he wasn’t in RWC plans? Tipuric retirement more of a shock’

Sky Sports News’ James Cole…

“There is no doubt that Alun Wyn Jones will go down as one of the all-time greats of men’s rugby union.

“170 caps for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, he captained Wales on 52 occasions, three Grand Slams, five Six Nations titles, and he also led the Lions in 2021, and was part of a series victory to Australia in 2013.

“In a statement on Instagram, Alun Wyn Jones said he had come to the decision after ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and the WRU, which suggests he’d been given an indication perhaps that he wasn’t part of Warren Gatland’s World Cup plans.

“Now, this is a surprise, but it is nowhere near as big a shock as the news which preceded it, that Justin Tipurc was also retiring from international rugby.

“He’s 33, four years the junior of Jones. It was still felt he had a big part to play in Welsh rugby, and certainly the World Cup campaign.

“So that’s more of a shock. Tipuric not citing why he is retiring but just saying he wants to focus on playing for his region [Ospreys] and spend more time now with his family.

“Just four months out from the start of the Rugby World Cup in France, and two Welsh stalwarts have stepped down.”

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