Over the weekend Adam Jones announced that he was retiring from international rugby. Although not as widely known to casual rugby fans as some of the more glamorous players, Jones has been one of the most important players in the Welsh team since his international debut in 2003. At tight head prop, he did the hard graft in the front row which was the foundation stone of the Welsh scrum, and many pundits think he has been one of the best tight head props in the game in the last decade.
He is also one of only six post-war Welsh players to have won three Grand Slams, the others being J.P.R Williams, Gareth Edwards and Gerald Davies in the 1970s; and Gethin Jenkins and Ryan Jones in the 2005, 2008 and 2012 Grand Slams along with Adam. As I mentioned in my blog about Gatland’s announcement of the Welsh squad for the 2015 6 Nations, Adam’s omission was one of the main talking points. After also not having been included in the 2014 Autumn Tests squad, he has decided to bring to an end an international career which saw him get 95 caps for Wales, and five test appearances for the British and Irish Lions.
Having only ever played as a back, the details of what goes on in a scrum are largely a mystery to me, and even more so what goes on in the front row. But, it would seem that Adam has been struggling to adapt his scrummaging technique to the new laws which have been introduced last season, and it is possibly this combined with his age which have seen him fall out of favour with Warren Gatland. Whatever the reasons, Adam himself has expressed his disappointment at being left out of the 2015 6 Nations squad, and has made the difficult decision to quit the international game. I hope rugby fans from Wales and beyond will recognise what a wonderful servant he has been of Welsh rugby these last 12 years.