Guinness PRO12: Duncan Jones ‘disappointed’ at early retirement
Iconic Ospreys and Wales prop forced to hang up boots on advice of medics after foot injury earlier in the season
Veteran loosehead prop Duncan Jones has announced his retirement from rugby after the Ospreys awards dinner.
One of the “original” Ospreys, the 36-year-old has amassed 223 appearances for the Welsh region, despite his battle with injuries.
It’s disappointing that I can’t help with the final push in the semis and, fingers crossed, the final.
A foot injury earlier this season has finally brought the curtain down on a stellar 18-year career that yielded four Celtic League titles and the EDF Energy Cup with the Ospreys, two Rugby World Cup campaigns, a Grand Slam in 2008, as well as 57 Wales caps.
With the Ospreys already guaranteed a place in this season’s Guinness PRO12 play-offs with two rounds of the regular seasons remaining, Jones admitted his disappointment at not being able to help his club on their quest for another title.
“I’m really disappointed that I’ve had to make this decision at such an exciting time for the Ospreys,” Jones said.
“There’s a real buzz about the group at the moment having qualified for the play-offs and, personally speaking, it’s disappointing that I can’t help with the final push in the semis and, fingers crossed, the final.
“Looking a little further ahead, we have a strong set of props here, many of whom will be going to the World Cup later in the year and I had hoped that I could maybe stick around a little bit longer to help some of the youngsters who’ll still be involved during that period, but unfortunately that’s not to be.
“However, it’s fair to say that the region is in a strong position right now.
“The Ospreys have achieved so much since 2003 and I’m proud to have been able to play a small part in the success over the last 12 years, helping to create history.
“I think this group can go on and create more history of its own over the coming seasons and I’m now becoming a supporter watching with interest how they progress.
“I’m grateful to everybody I’ve worked with at Neath, with Wales, and, in particular at the Ospreys, for all the support I’ve had and for allowing me to enjoy some fantastic experiences and memories that will stay with me forever.”
Jones began his career with Neath RFC before the regions were created, amassing 105 appearances for the Welsh All Blacks in a five-year spell, before stepping up to join the Ospreys in 2003 with Neath team-mates Adam Jones, Shane Williams, Paul James, Cai Griffiths and Steve Tandy among those also making the step up to the region.
With all his achievements, and being top of the all-time appearances, there is no doubt that he is a true Ospreys legend, someone deserving of the accolade.
With medics confirming that they were unable to correct Jones’s current injury, the Neath man informed his team-mates earlier this week of his decision to retire ahead of the club’s annual awards dinner in Swansea on Friday night.
Tandy, now Ospreys head coach, paid tribute to Jones for his contribution to the region, describing him as an “amazing servant” and “a true great”.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to share a dressing room with Duncan for many years, first at Neath and then the Ospreys, and I can only describe him as an amazing servant, an outstanding rugby player and a true great of the region,” Tandy said.
“I’m proud that I can also call him a great friend, first and foremost, who will be sorely missed by everybody at the Ospreys.
“With all his achievements, and being top of the all-time appearances, there is no doubt that he is a true Ospreys legend, someone deserving of the accolade.”