Alun Wyn Jones has named the top three second-rowers he has come up against throughout his stellar career – with one legendary Irishman making his list.
With 158 caps, Alun Wyn Jones holds the test match record for Wales. His incredible career sets the standard for international longevity, as no player has achieved more caps for their country than Jones.
He eclipsed Richie McCaw’s record of 148 All Blacks appearances against France in 2020.
Since becoming the first choice lock ahead of the 2007 Six Nations, Jones has held onto the shirt ever since. However, the legendary lock looks to be finally winding down, with a new generation of fresh-faced Welsh players set to breakthrough.
After an under-par performance against Ireland in the opening round of the 2023 Six Nations, the 37-year-old was in fact dropped by Warren Gatland ahead of Wales’ trip to Murrayfield.
Exeter Chiefs lock Dafydd Jenkins replaced Jones in the row, with the 20-year-old putting in a strong performance against Scotland. Jones is back in the starting line-up against England, after Gatland announced the team yesterday.
He seems to remain in the former British & Irish Lions Head Coach’s plans for now, yet Gatland has made it clear that he is looking to introduce young stars to the Welsh squad, with Jenkins possibly taking the torch forward after the Rugby World Cup.
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ALUN WYN JONES: TOUGHEST OPPONENT
#1. Paul O’Connell
- Born October 20, 1979, Limerick
- Major teams British and Irish Lions, Munster, Ireland
- Caps 115
- Position Lock
The Irish second row was certainly blessed with special rugby powers having been one of the world’s leading tight forwards for more than a decade. A three-times Lions who captained the tour of South Africa in 2009.
Alun Wyn Jones said: “We got to know each other very well as team-mates with the Lions and opponents for our clubs and countries. You cannot shy away from how effective the guy was in his position.”
Did you know? O’Connell initially excelled at swimming and only started playing rugby at the age of 16
Source: The Rugby Paper