Alun Wyn Jones will further extend his record-breaking career having signed for another year with Wales and the Ospreys aged 35.
The favourite for the Lions captaincy this summer having guided Wales to another Six Nations title – his personal fifth – Jones will now eye becoming just the third ever player to feature in five World Cups come 2023.
Having become the most capped player of all-time last autumn, now on 157 internationals adding his nine Lions Tests to Welsh caps, the lock is not ready to hang up his boots.
Alun Wyn Jones (above) has signed for another year with Wales and the Ospreys aged 35
With his contract up this summer Jones has signed up for another season.
‘Earlier this year I extended my contract with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys. I’m really pleased to have done so and to continue my career with my region,’ he said.
‘In these very difficult times off the field and with rugby the focus on the field I didn’t feel the time was right to announce when I put pen to paper, but I am very pleased to extend my current contract for another year.
‘I’m grateful that I get to continue to do what I love and to continue playing for the Ospreys.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my career to date and particularly through these difficult times.’
Jones (middle) could become the third ever player to feature in five World Cups by 2023
Only Brian Lima, Sergio Parisse and Mauro Bergamasco have played in five World Cups
Only Samoan Brian Lima and Italian duo Sergio Parisse and Mauro Bergamasco have played in five World Cups – now surely Jones’ next aim after this year’s Lions tour to South Africa, which if he is selected will be his fourth trip.
Commenting on the announcement Wales boss Wayne Pivac said: ‘Alun will go down as one of the greatest players of all time but he is still at the top of the game, performing and winning and he deserves the contract extension, he is an important part of our future.
‘It is not just what he does on the field, it is what he does every minute of every training session. He leads both on and off the field in everything that he does.
‘He has huge pride in the jersey and playing for his country and that is evident in his preparation, his effort and commitment.’
Toby Booth, Ospreys head coach, added: ‘Alun Wyn Jones’ commitment to delivering high performances, week-in and week out, was evident to everybody during the recent Six Nations campaign when he was undoubtedly one of the players of the tournament.
Boss Wayne Pivac says Jones will ‘go down as one of the greatest players of all time’
‘His ability to deliver high performances throughout his career is what marks him out as such a world class player and it is great that he believes the Ospreys can deliver on his and the regions ambitions. His commitment to his home region and his teammates are obvious for all to see on a daily basis.
‘This confirmation of his future plans, despite being agreed for a long time, shows the respect he has for all and not wanting speculation to hinder preparation for Wales and the Ospreys. This gives everyone an insight into the man behind the player.”
‘His journey with the Ospreys now continues. His presence on the field is mirrored with influence on the culture of our team off the field. This will undoubtedly be at the forefront of our improvement going forward.’