ALUN WYN JONES and Justin Tipuric, two stalwarts of Welsh rugby, have made the surprising decision to retire from international duty, just months ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Alun Wyn Jones, the 37-year-old lock from Ospreys, brought an end to his illustrious 17-year career in the international arena after engaging in discussions with the coaching staff and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). His remarkable journey saw him represent Wales a record-breaking 158 times and don the Lions jersey in 12 Tests across four tours in 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2021, making him the most capped player in world rugby. Throughout his career, he celebrated three Grand Slam victories and five Six Nations titles with Wales.
On the other hand, Justin Tipuric, the 33-year-old back-row favorite, did not provide a specific reason for his decision, stating that “now seems the right time to step away.” Tipuric, who will continue playing for the Ospreys, accumulated 93 appearances for Wales over a span of 12 years and participated in three Lions tours. Known for his exceptional skills, he played a crucial role in Wales’ journey to the World Cup semi-finals in both 2015 and 2019 and was set to make his third World Cup appearance in France later this year.
The unexpected retirements of Jones and Tipuric mean that these seasoned Wales veterans will not be part of the Rugby World Cup squad. The duo had been included in Warren Gatland’s extended 54-man training squad, which was scheduled to assemble next week.
Jones made his retirement announcement shortly after Tipuric’s, just an hour apart. Jones, who is set to feature for the Barbarians against World XV and his hometown club Swansea this month, shared his decision through an Instagram statement. He expressed his gratitude towards his Welsh teammates and the rising stars, acknowledging the support and influence of his grandfather and father in nurturing his passion for rugby. Jones expressed his deep appreciation for the opportunity to play professional rugby, particularly representing his home region, the Ospreys, as well as clubs such as Mumbles and Bonymaen that played a significant role in his early development. He extended his heartfelt thanks to the staff, players, and supporters who have been part of his journey, and emphasized the invaluable support of his family, considering his children his greatest achievement. Jones concluded with the Welsh phrase “Diolch, Alun Wyn. Cymru am byth,” signifying his enduring connection to Wales.
Tipuric, hailing from Trebanos RFC, made his Wales debut in 2011 and achieved Six Nations victories in 2012, 2013, 2019, and 2021. He played a vital role in Wales’ successful campaigns in the 2015 and 2019 World Cups and was poised to participate in his third global tournament in France. Tipuric, who had been recovering from a foot injury sustained during Ospreys’ Champions Cup match against Saracens in April, released a statement through Win Sports Management. He expressed his privilege in representing Wales and extended his gratitude to the players, coaches, and the passionate Welsh public. Tipuric emphasized his excitement to spend more time at home and channel his energies into playing for his beloved region, the Ospreys.
The Ospreys acknowledged that Tipuric’s decision would be deeply felt by Welsh rugby. Recognizing his incredible work rate, agility, and rugby intelligence, the Welsh region highlighted his instrumental role in the national team over the past decade. Tipuric’s renowned ability to dominate the breakdown and steal the ball made him a vital component of the Welsh squad, contributing significantly to their recent successes, including four Six Nations