Experienced Welsh duo Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric have announced their retirements from the international game four months out from the Rugby World Cup.
Former long term captain Jones is the most capped player in international rugby history with 170 test caps for Wales and the Lions.
The 37-year-old secondrow made his debut in 2006 against Argentina going on to win 158 caps for Wales, 52 as captain of the side. Three years later he would feature on the first of four British and Irish Lions tours featuring in 12 Test Matches for the famous touring squad.
Winning five Six Nations including three Grand Slams whilst featuring at four Rugby World Cups making the semi-finals twice.
Domestically, Jones won three league titles with the Ospreys and has remained a one club player throughout his career.
Speaking about his retirement, Jones said: “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,” he said 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 favourite 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.”
33-year-old Tipuric made his debut in 2011 against Argentina and has played pivotal role in the Welsh success over the past twelve years winning four Six Nations and featuring in a World Cup semi-final.
Tipuric looked back on his career fondly saying: “It’s been a privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and have so many great memories,” he added in the statement.
“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.”
Both players were initially selected for Warren Gatland’s 54-man Rugby World Cup training squad and will leave a 264 international tests worth of experience gap in the squad.