Alun Wyn Jones: Wales captain not ready for final playing chapter

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has been part of five Six Nations winning sides

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says he will continue playing until his form and enjoyment decline.

The world’s most capped player turns 36 on Sunday, but he is preparing to start another season with Ospreys after signing a deal until summer 2022.

“This is the thing people forget – I don’t select myself. I’m still enjoying it, that’s the main thing,” said Jones.

“Hopefully I have a bit more left in the tank and as long as my numbers stack up I am ready to go again.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the Wales lock added: “If I didn’t enjoy it and my numbers weren’t stacking up and I didn’t perform, then I’d probably take the hard decision myself rather than put it in the hands of someone else.

“Conversations have been ongoing. You get to that magic number of 30 and people start talking about: “What are you going to do next?”

“Touch wood, the body is OK but I’ve had a few periods [of injury] this year that I didn’t plan on.”

Jones, who has won 160 caps between Wales and the Lions, led the British and Irish Lions in the series defeat against South Africa this summer after a remarkable recovery from a dislocated shoulder suffered in the opening seven minutes of the pre-tour warm-up match against Japan in Edinburgh.

Eighteen days later Jones flew to South Africa and went on to lead the tourists in all three Tests.

“From the Saturday in the Japan game to the Tuesday where I found I had a chance to go back out, it was probably a bit like being in the twilight zone,” Jones told BBC Breakfast.

“I had been where I wanted to be and found myself at home on the sofa within a matter of hours.

“It’s history now and I was able to go back and feature and that was a big win, although the series evaded us. There is always a plot within the story.”

Jones is due to return to Ospreys training on Thursday, 16 September and is set to lead Wales into the autumn series against New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and South Africa.

Alun Wyn Jones addresses his Lions team-mates

“After a long tour and season and such a chopped year with rugby, it’s been all over the shop,” said Jones.

“It’s going to be nice to get back into a routine and see some fans as well.”

Jones has been reflecting on his illustrious career so far after publishing his autobiography Belonging.

“I had been approached a few times before about doing a book after turning 30 but I always kept it at arm’s length,” said Jones.

“It just felt the right time with lockdown and I probably needed to be a bit more productive. The book [idea] came around and it was probably the best time to share a bit of myself.

“I have so much under the belt, I have been closed off for large parts of my career, a few people would testify to that.

“We talk about being private and closed off and we now find myself on national television and I have just done a book and am doing all these things. There is a hurdle to get over.

“From a young age I have been relatively stubborn, I am sure people will say I am now.

“You have to be a little bit selfish to succeed at sport and I have probably been too far one way and I am learning to try and get the work-life balance better, especially now with [having had] kids.

“It was the right time to share a bit more and hopefully kick on and be a bit more of the person rather than just a rugby player.”

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