The seismic 80 minutes that shook the Wales rugby team and raised an obvious question

The seismic 80 minutes that shook the Wales rugby team and raised an obvious question

As far as Fridays go, this was a quiet one in the admittedly unpredictable world of Welsh rugby. Up until 2.25pm, that is, when Wales’ Rugby World Cup preparations were turned on their head.

First Justin Tipuric announced his retirement from international rugby, not via the Welsh Rugby Union but through his agent at Win Sports Management, with the Ospreys following suit to confirm the news and pay tribute. That in itself was a seismic piece of news, but little more than an hour later things got even more interesting.

At 3.45pm, the most-capped player in the history of international rugby, Alun Wyn Jones, followed Tipuric’s lead by calling it a day internationally a mere four months out from the World Cup.

READ MORE: Alun Wyn Jones finds the perfect words in touching farewell message to Wales

There is no doubt whatsoever both Jones and Tipuric will be remembered in the top echelon of Welsh internationals, up there with the likes of Phil Bennett, Sir Gareth Edwards and Shane Williams.

Between them, Wales are losing 265 caps of international experience which at first glance is a serious blow to their hopes of competing at the World Cup. At 37 and 33 years of age respectively, both men were coming to the end of the road anyway, but what is extremely strange is the timing of the announcement.

When Wales returned home from the 2src19 tournament in Japan, Ospreys stalwart Jones was 34 and many expected him to call it a day back then. But, no, on he went standing at the forefront of the short-lived Wayne Pivac era, even earning a place on the 2src21 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

Some thought he would retire at the conclusion of his fourth Lions tour, but he decided to give it one final push to make it as far as the World Cup.

As far as Jones goes, the narrative coming out of the Wales camp for the past four years has centred around lo

…. to be continued
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