Welsh great Alun Wyn Jones retires from internationals

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Alun Wyn Jones, the world's most capped rugby union player, has announced his retirement from the international game.

The formidable 37-year-old lock played 158 times for Wales and made 12 British and Irish Lions Test appearances.

Wales flanker Justin Tipuric, who won 93 caps, had earlier also announced his decision to step down from Test rugby on Friday.

The players' decisions come less than four months before Wales' World Cup opener against Fiji in Bordeaux, and both had recently been named in a 54-player preliminary training squad for the tournament by head coach Warren Gatland.

Jones had looked set for a fifth World Cup this year having overcome repeated shoulder injuries in recent seasons.

But he said on Friday in a statement that he had made the decision after "ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and the Welsh Rugby Union.

"After 17 years I look back on special memories with Welsh greats and future Welsh greats.

"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 favourite years, was beyond special and something for which I am hugely grateful."

Jones won five Six Nations titles with Wales, including three grand slams, and went on four tours with the Lions.

Tipuric, 33, captained Wales in the autumn internationals late last year and has 93 caps since making his debut in 2011 plus one appearance for the British & Irish Lions.

He was expected to be a key figure for Gatland in France, though he has also battled with injury in recent seasons, including missing the entire 2021-22 campaign.

"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'm looking forward to spending more time at home and putting all my energies into playing for my home region the Ospreys."

Tipuric was a central figure when Wales reached the semi-finals of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.

With Reuters