It feels like Alun Wyn Jones has been around forever, the Osprey made his debut for Wales in 2006 and has been consistently featured in the Welsh team ever since. Jones has a special quality about him, a presence on the field and the ability to inspire his teammates no matter the outcome. Alun Wyn has won 117 caps for Wales, 9 for the Lions and has played over 200 times for the Ospreys, the man is a legend in this country and want to give him the love he deserves.
Passion is a word that comes to mind whilst thinking about Alun Wyn Jones, tears streaming down his face while singing the national anthem and 100% commitment to every match. The man is 32 years old he should be slowing down yet he always delivers when it matters. In 2013 Lions tour, the series was drawn 1-1 with Australia and Jones was called up as captain for the decider. Jones was immense making 12 carries and 13 tackles captaining the Lions to 41-16 victory. As a player he does a lot of the messy work most players would avoid yet he never complains, “I’m a bit old school. When you’ve got a job to do, you do your job”
Loyalty is frequently associated with Alun Wyn Jones and there’s a good reason for that. The lock has been with the Osprey’s since 2005 and has won 3 league titles with the last title coming in 2012. Since then, the Ospreys have struggled in the Pro 12/14 and have barely challenged in Europe, but Jones remains ever-present. Alun Wyn has captained the region since 2010 and recently signed a contract extension keeping him at the Osprey’s until 2019. “He wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes it’s best to leave him alone rather than prod him. But he is a great guy who will always help you out and someone you would want by your side in the trenches” – Shane Williams (Former Wales International)
In his earlier years, Jones has been guilty of making some poor decisions which cost his team dearly (think of his red card against England in 2010). But like a fine wine he has matured and improved with age.
Alun is also a brilliant reader of the game and he knows when to make the right choice. He carries the ball well in attack, he is effective in defense and the timing of his passing is close to perfection.
“He’s going to go down as a legend of the game in Wales” said Warren Gatland (Wales head coach) “People are going to recognise the contribution he has made and what a competitor he is, how demanding he is of himself and of others”
I consider Alun Wyn Jones to be one the best second rows in the world and possibly his generation, the consistency Jones has displayed over the years has been immense. I love the way he carries himself and the fact he isn’t arrogant or narcissistic. As a man he is very down to earth and modest but also focused and determined, that focus and determination translates on to the field. I can recall the first time I watched Alun Wyn play, Wales were up against Canada in their opening match in 2007 world cup. The young fresh-faced Jones with his silver headgear and bright red face. He belted out Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau with tears pouring down his face and I remember him playing particularly well in that match. Many great performances have since followed.
This year Alun Wyn Jones will enter his 14th year as professional rugby player, the longevity of his career is unbelievable. It will be his 12th year playing for Wales and 14th for the Osprey’s. He will most likely captain Wales in the Autumn internationals and I have no doubt he will be a stand out player. Alun Wyn Jones is and will be remembered as a legend, his leadership, demeanour and success will be revered. His list of achievements in the sport are endless and I am sure more success will follow.
He is highly respected and looked up to in Wales, this is deserved. Alun Wyn Jones is an inspirational player and a good person which is what matters the most. He is one of my idols, somebody I look up to and someone who inspires me. He gives the impression of someone who is never satisfied or content with what he has achieved, but I suspect once he finally retires the out pour of tributes he will receive will hopefully make him realise how special his career has been.
I would like to credit the Independent, Wales Online and Guardian for providing insightful interviews and articles. The relevant articles can be found below.