Alun Wyn Jones’ international record as Wales and Lions great calls it a day

Alun Wyn Jones has called time on his illustrious international career after a world-record 170 caps.

With 158 appearances for Wales and 12 for the British and Irish Lions, Jones is 22 clear of any other player in rugby union history.

His influence extends far beyond sheer longevity and here, the PA news agency looks back at his record in the two famous red jerseys.


Alun Wyn Jones lifts the Six Nations trophy in 2019
Alun Wyn Jones won the Six Nations trophy five times, including a Grand Slam as captain in 2019 (David Davies/PA)

Jones made his international debut in 2006 at flanker, soon switching to lock where he quickly established himself as a mainstay of the team.

He won the Six Nations title five times, including three Grand Slams in 2008, 2012 and 2019, in the latter of which he captained the side and was named player of the championship.

His other titles came in 2013 and 2021 and his 66 appearances rank second in Six Nations history to former Italy captain Sergio Parisse, after Jones passed Brian O’Driscoll’s 65 games for Ireland during this season’s tournament.

He reached a century of Wales caps against New Zealand in 2016 and overtook prop Gethin Jenkins’ record of 129 when he appeared against Australia at the 2019 World Cup.

He went on to overhaul former New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw’s 148 record international appearances in October 2020 against France, with his 150th cap coming against Italy in March 2022 and his 158th and last against France this year.

He captained Wales on 48 occasions, one short of predecessor Sam Warburton’s record.

Jones scored nine international tries, the last remarkably coming back in 2016 against New Zealand in Wellington. He received only four yellow cards and no reds in his 158 games.

Jones’ retirement leaves New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock as the most-capped active international with 143 appearances, well clear of Australia’s James Slipper with 127.

British and Irish Lions

Sam Warburton, left, and Alun Wyn Jones lift the trophy after the British and Irish Lions' series win over Australia in 2013
Jones deputised for the injured Sam Warburton, left, to captain the British and Irish Lions to a series-clinching win over Australia in 2013 (David Davies/PA)

Jones first toured with the Lions in 2009, starting one Test against South Africa and featuring as a replacement in the other two.

He was ever-present again in 2013, deputising as captain for the injured Warburton in the series-clinching third Test against Australia, and in 2017 to become the first player in the professional era to play in nine consecutive Lions Tests.

He astonishingly was able to extend that record to 12 in 2021 as he recovered from a dislocated shoulder in the warm-up game against Japan to captain the tourists in all three Tests against the Springboks.

His dozen appearances match prop Graham Price as Wales’ most-capped Lion while only former Ireland lock Willie John McBride (17) and England scrum-half Dickie Jeeps (13) have won more Lions caps overall.

Jones, McBride and former Ireland centres O’Driscoll and Mike Gibson are the only players to have been selected for four or more Lions tours.

Including non-cap tour matches, Jones appeared 24 times for the Lions and scored two tries, both as a replacement against a Royal XV in 2009 and the Barbarians four years later.