Alun Wyn Jones carries a name that will forever go down in Welsh folklore for his longevity and commitment to the national game. He has recently bowed out in his final-ever match of professional rugby, leaving the pitch for the final time at the Stade Marcel-Michelin in Clermont this past weekend.
Having achieved a world record 158 caps for Wales over a 17-year international career, Jones became a national icon and a statement of solidarity in the national setup over the year. His achievements in a Welsh jersey led to Jones receiving an OBE IN 2021 – one of many statement rewards the 6 ft 6 in lock would receive in his career. A four-time British and Irish Lions tourist, two-time World Player of the Year nominee, and three-time Grand Slam winner, Jones was always instrumental at the highest levels.
His commitment to the national side was easily matched at club level, with his loyalties lying with the Ospreys for almost his entire career. It was only during the summer of 2023 that Jones would venture elsewhere to see out his career, providing injury cover for Toulon during the 2023 World Cup. It was here that the 38 year old would see out his career, playing 5 matches down in the south of France before finally hanging up his boots.
In an away match against Clermont Auvergne, Jones was seen to receive a wonderfully warming, and well deserved, standing ovation from French fans. Being replaced by Adrien Warion, Jones took his time exiting the field, soaking up the well deserved applause from fans.
Alun Wyn Jones receives a standing ovation at Toulon, in his last ever match. Legend. pic.twitter.com/C3xKXWgTcD
— SmallClone (@Smallclone_) November 18, 2023
Supporters on Twitter were quick to offer their support:
Henry Voice noted: “I think what makes it even more special, is that this isn’t even his home crowd at Toulon but an away crowd at the Marcel-Michelin in Clermont! Real respect for a true rugby legend”.
Sibo Maputi added: “Bloody Welshman; cheered on by the Frenchmen; appreciated by the world. Oh! What a player. What a journey. AWJ”.
Whilst Jeff Thomas insinuated that his class went beyond local rivalries, saying: “I’m a Scarlet, but he’s a Legend and a Monster. A great servant to Welsh rugby”.