Wales pair Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric have both announced their retirement from international rugby, just four months before the World Cup in France.
Jones, 37, is the record cap holder in world rugby with 170 Test appearances for Wales and British and Irish Lions. 33-year-old Tipuric captained Wales in the autumn internationals late last year and has 93 caps since making his debut in 2011, plus one appearance for the Lions.
Jones captained Wales a record 52 times and led the Lions on the 2021 tour of South Africa. He was also named Six Nations player of the tournament after leading Wales to the Grand Slam in 2019.
“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,” Jones said on Instagram. “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.
Jones announced his retirement just an hour after Tipuric, who was expected to be a key figure for Warren Gatland in France, though he has 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 semifinals of the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.
His announcement on Friday comes a week before a 54-player extended Wales squad will meet up for a pre-World Cup training camp. He had been named in that selection by Gatland.