by James Dodd
TONIGHT against France, Alun Wyn Jones will captain Wales and equal Richie McCaw’s cap record of 148. An astonishing achievement.
As a result, ExpoSport has had a look back on just a few occasions where the Osprey has shown all of his experience and qualities as the Welsh captain.
Leadership vs Ireland 2019
When you ask a Welsh rugby fan to name a perfect rugby match, Wales’ comfortable 25-7 victory over Ireland in March 2019 won’t be that far down the list. Not only did Wales win their 4th Grand Slam in 14 years, they witnessed an example of what a perfect leader looks like.
Jones’ communication with referee Angus Gardner was exquisite (as it always seems to be). The opposite can be said for a number of Irish players on that day, including Johnny Sexton, who was seen throwing the ball away in anger after Wales had another penalty.
One example that stands out is in the 50th minute after Gareth Anscombe had just kicked a penalty to take Wales 19-0 up. The Irish restart was kicked dead, and Jones can be seen sprinting to the middle of the pitch, showing to both his Welsh side and the Irish opposition that he is still full of energy and raring to go. It’s hard to believe that before the 10-minute mark he was getting heavy strapping on his left leg.
Let’s not forget the photo that went viral after the game that showed the Swansea-born player’s jacket around the shoulders of what looked like a cold young mascot.
Composure vs England 2019
9-13 down with around 17 minutes to go against a side Wales hadn’t beaten in this tournament since 2013. It certainly took a lot in the last quarter to score two tries and win 21-13, and there is no doubt the captain played his part.
Firstly, he seemed to completely ‘rattle’ England’s loose head Kyle Sinckler. Both players got into a little tussle, but it seemed the Welshman had enjoyed it, as Jones was seen laughing in Sinckler’s face.
A few minutes later, Sinckler is again in the middle of it after it seems he took out Anscombe off the ball late. However, with Welsh players rushing to South African referee Jaco Peyper, Jones protests that they leave the man in the middle alone.
You can even hear Rob Evans shout “It’s the same man every time”, with Jones replying “Away…respect”.
With Wales’ comeback complete at 80 minutes, Jones can be seen turning to the crowd and screaming in joy as the ball is kicked into the stands.
Humble and selfless off the pitch
It is not just on the rugby field leading three million people where Jones excels, but also off it. On multiple occasions he has been asked about his individual achievements and every time seems to change it to the team.
Most recently, he told the BBC that he is “more excited” to watch Louis Rees-Zammit and Sam Parry make their debuts this weekend.