World News – GB – Warren Gatland’s tribute to Alun Wyn, ‘Loved in Wales, admired in the world’


Former Wales boss Warren Gatland paid personal tribute to Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones as he prepares to break world record for match appearances test

Warren Gatland praised Alun Wyn Jones’ « incredible » international career as the Wales captain prepares to break the world record for test match appearance today

Ospreys lock Jones to surpass 148 tests for World Cup-winning New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw when he takes Wales to face Scotland in Llanelli

Gatland worked closely with ‘the incredible contender’ during a 12-year reign as supreme of Wales, appointing him skipper

And the Lions boss said of Alun Wyn: « Incredibly respected, loved in Wales, he is admired around the world I have enormous respect for him

« It’s an incredible reward to be the most capped player in the world, especially in a small country like Wales I think he will set the bar incredibly high

« He got into the role late after Sam Warburton, but he did a great job in directing his way »

Not surprised that Jones is reaching this milestone, Gatland credits the Welsh skipper with learning to manage himself in recent years

Gatland explained, « Trying to get him to rest or take a break he didn’t always want to do that I’d say ‘how are you feeling? and he was like’ I’m fresh ‘

« A few years ago he said to me ‘I would have liked to have heard you a little earlier on managing myself’ and I said ‘I hope the experience you have now, if you end up in this situation, you will be able to pass this knowledge on again to someone else who might be in the same situation ‘

« I think he has a fantastic balance between rugby, training and home and he’s matured incredibly well, is incredibly respected by the players – the example he sets in training, high expectations he has of himself

« What I admire about him is that he always never takes the jersey for granted, you know he is always waiting for the selection » If I am selected next week « these kind of comments that ‘he does

« He respects the opportunity he had to play for Wales, he is so proud as a passionate Welshman to have played And of course the Lions too »

Jones’s name will be etched in the history books when he leads Wales at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday afternoon, although Gatland believes the recognition outside Wales has only been relatively recent

« That recognition didn’t come very early on, although he was doing well Wales were doing well, and their performances for the Lions, but it was probably only in the last three four years that he has had this recognition around the world thanks to what he has accomplished ”, continued Gatland

« He did a great job, he’s leading forward, he’s honest and I hope this team can give him a performance against Scotland – give him a game he’ll remember and probably beat the record for one of the greatest rugby players to remember, Richie McCaw « 

Jones made his Wales debut in 2006 and helped his country win four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slam tournaments and two World Cup semi-finals, and there is no indication that ‘he’s slowing down for now

When asked if Jones could make it to another Lions tour and if age was a selection factor, Gatland – preparing for the 2021 South Africa tour – said: « Age is not a limit because when you watch a Lions team you don’t think about the future, you don’t think about four years old

« It’s about picking the best players and whether his form is good enough One of the things about Alun Wyn is that he’s incredibly honest about his own performance

« I think he has ambitions for next year with the Lions – it’s a position with tremendous quality and depth and it’s going to be a challenge for him

« It’s important that he has a good Six Nations – he will know it, but if he ends up in South Africa in 2021, it would be his fourth Lions tour, which is an incredible achievement »

The second row will be 38 when the 2023 showpiece begins, but Wales head coach Wayne Pivac – who says Jones is « first on the roster » – believes he could still represent your country at the tournament in France

« If you look at the abilities and the form, I have to say there is no reason why he couldn’t go to a World Cup, if he didn’t get injured, » said Gatland

« Everyone, however, at this point when the body begins to slow down Some come down a cliff faster than others

« But there’s no reason Alun Wyn couldn’t be one of those where you throw away the birth certificate and just watch what he does every day

« He could spend next year and think ‘if I take care of myself and manage myself well, I can arrive in France in 2023 »

« Or, like a lot of gamers who are sort of in their thirties and thinking about the future, one day the light bulb might come on and say, ‘I’ve achieved everything I wanted to do and it’s time to retire ‘

« So we’ll wait until the day he decides to quit and I’m sure we’ll be celebrating what has been an incredible career internationally

Wales, Alun Wyn Jones, Six Nations Championship, Scotland national rugby union team, Rugby Union, British and Irish Lions

News from the world – UK – Warren Gatland’s tribute to Alun Wyn, ‘Loved in Wales, admired around the world’



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