Ospreys head coach Toby Booth says veteran second-row Alun Wyn Jones will not retire soon as he continually looks to improve.
Jones is comfortably the most capped Test player of all time, with 155 outings for Wales and 12 for the British and Irish Lions, and according to his club coach, he is “a long way from throwing it in.”
Booth has heaped praise on the forward, who put in a strong performance against Australia in Wales’ final Test of 2022.
Wales finished on the losing side, which proved to be Wayne Pivac’s final match in charge, but Jones made his presence known in his 71-minute shift, with his assist for Jac Morgan’s try being the highlight of his performance.
Ahead of that match, Booth backed Jones to perform for Wales, saying: “The person who knows where Alun is before he went into camp with Wales is me. He was one of our most consistent players. People can talk about whether that’s enough for international rugby, but he was playing exceptionally well.”
Speaking ahead of Ospreys’ Champions Cup opener against Leicester Tigers on Sunday, Booth was keen to talk up his veteran lock again, and when asked for his reaction to Jones’ performance for Wales, he said: “I told you so. Being fully fit and being in the situation to show what he can do and getting that opportunity, and he got an opportunity, which shows that he’s a long way from throwing it in, for sure.”
Jones’ future in Gatland’s second tenure
The Ospreys boss looked ahead to Warren Gatland’s return as Wales head coach and said that the club would do what it could to create an environment in which Jones could thrive.
“Obviously, he knows Warren Gatland well, and I’m sure those conversations will go on. All we can construct is Alun Wyn’s performances for us and creating that environment that he wants to be here, and we’ll see where that takes it,” Booth said.
Asked about Gatland’s comments that he will need to assess the ageing profile of the squad, Booth said: “All I can comment on is how he’s performed for the Ospreys and how he’s performed 25 minutes ago.
“There’s plenty of life in Al, and there’s plenty of leadership, and there’s plenty of desperation to do well because the thing that’s got him the caps he’s got is he has his own standards of performance. He still has the same desire to improve.
“I’m fairly certain when he decides enough is enough; he’ll be the person deciding that and not too many others.
“I’m not talking about from a Welsh point of view, but Al is very honest about what he can and can’t do, and for us I find him a very good challenge and good to deal with.”
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