Six Nations 2015: Warren Gatland thanks Adam Jones for Wales service
Iconic prop calls time on his international career after being snubbed again for Gatland's latest Wales squad
Adam Jones has announced his retirement from international rugby with immediate effect.
The 33-year-old Cardiff Blues prop has decided to call time on his Wales career after missing out on selection for Warren Gatland’s squad for the upcoming Six Nations.
I was gutted to miss out on the autumn. I told myself then that I would train as hard as I can and get as fit as I can. If it didn’t happen, then I’ll call it a day.
Gatland has placed Jones on a standby list in the event of injuries to Samson Lee, Aaron Jarivs or Scott Andrews, who were all named ahead of the Wales icon.
Jones was also overlooked for the Dove Men Series in November with his 95th and last appearance coming in Wales’ 38-16 defeat to South African in Durban last June when he was hauled off after just 30 minutes to be replaced by a then 21-year-old Scarlets rival Lee.
Despite his age, Lee is considered by the Wales coaching staff to be the number one tighthead available to Wales and has established himself as first-choice ahead of his regional team-mate Rhodri Jones, who misses the Six Nations through injury.
“It’s obviously not the way I would want to finish, it’s not how I planned it in my head, and I hope no-one thinks I am simply quitting,” Jones told The Sunday Times.
“It started when I got dropped for the last game of the 2014 Six Nations [against Scotland].
“I was still pretty happy with the way everything was going and I was thinking I’d get back in. Then there was the ’30-minute match’ in South Africa.
“I was gutted to miss out on the autumn. I told myself then that I would train as hard as I can and get as fit as I can. If it didn’t happen, then I’ll call it a day.”
Jones, who made his international debut off the bench against England in the 2003 Six Nations during his time at the Ospreys, won three Grand Slams in 2005, 2008 and 2012.
He also made five appearances for the British and Irish Lions in 2009 and 2013, helping to secure a famous 2-1 series win over Australia for the Gatland-led Lions in 2013 along with many of his Wales colleagues.
Often lambasted for his lack of fitness, which regularly saw him last only 40 minutes of rugby, Jones has battled hard with his weight in an era of professional rugby that has seen forwards becoming physically fitter and more mobile around the park.
There is no doubt that Adam has played a huge part in Wales’ success. He has three Grand Slams and a Championship to his name. That is an unbelievable record.
The former Neath and Ospreys man was always known for his scrummaging than his prowess in the loose, but even that has taken a hit after World Rugby altered the laws.
“I want to thank Adam for his achievement in winning 95 caps for Wales and earning five test appearances for the British and Irish Lions,” Gatland said.
“There is no doubt that Adam has played a huge part in Wales’ success.
“He has three Grand Slams and a Championship to his name. That is an unbelievable record.
“He made a big impact and contribution on the international stage and we all wish him well for his future career with the Cardiff Blues.”
Despite leaving the Ospreys in the summer after 11 seasons with the region and four league titles, Jones has become an integral part of the Cardiff Blues front row under Kiwi coach Mark Hammett.
The Abercrave native paid tribute to Gatland for prolonging his flagging international career, even though he disagrees with the decisions to drop him from the Test side in favour of Scott Andrews – the Blues’ fourth-choice tighthead – who has barely had a look in since Jones arrived at the Arms Park.
“Warren is the man who came in and saved me,” Jones added.
“He gave me a kick up the [backside] so he’s been a massive influence on me, and I’m very grateful.
“I don’t agree with what he’s done now, I don’t agree with him not picking me. But he’s got to pick who he thinks is best.”
Jones will continue playing for the Blues after securing a one-year deal at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park last August and is already considering his future beyond his playing days, but has no intention to hang up his boots just yet.
“I’d like to probably play another two or three years, and we seem to be going in the right direction,” he said.
“I’d like a bit of a transition period because I’d love to coach; ideally, scrums at first, and build up from there.”