Fitting finale for legend Alun Wyn Jones as Barbarians showpiece marks 150 years of Swansea RFC

Alun Wyn Jones was centre of attention on a memorable night for Swansea RFC

By Iestyn Thomas

Rugby bade what could be a final farewell to Alun Wyn Jones as his old club Swansea went down 68-33 to the Barbarians in their historic 150th anniversary fixture at St Helen’s.

On a perfect sunny evening more than 6,000 fans squeezed into the old venue to see Jones, 37, captain the Baa-Baas for the first half and then switch sides after half-time.

Jones has won three Six Nations grand slams, five Six Nations Championships and a mammoth total of 170 Test caps. His world caps record is unlikely to ever be beaten.

Of his 170 caps, 158 came with Wales and 12 with the Lions with whom he toured in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2021. Jones won in Australia and drew in New Zealand with the Lions.

So there was much to savour as fans flocked around him at the final whistle.

Precisely what the future holds now for Jones in terms of playing he has yet to make clear. But if this was indeed a last hurrah, the circumstances could scarcely have been more fitting.

A Barbarians side containing Welsh internationals Dan Lydiate and Bradley Davies helped provide a brilliant spectacle that featured 15 tries.

Both sides stuck to the spirit of matches involving the Baa-Baas by attempting to play open rugby and it was the invitational side who opened the scoring, following a show-and-go from outside centre Rey Lee-Lo who gifted openside flanker Olly Robinson the opening score.

Fly-half Stephen Shingler pounced on a Swansea mistake to score a second try before winger Taichi Takahashi breezed through the Whites defence.

Then came a try that the 6,238 crowd lapped up as the Whites crossed for their first score with outside centre Joe Thomas touching down following some neat inter-play with James Davies.

Former Worcester Warriors winger Tom Howe scored a brace in quick succession, former Osprey Hanno Dirksen crossed for the hosts with the Barbarians leading 35-14 at the break.

Second row Jones led out Swansea for the second half, although the Barbarians continued their superiority with Edinburgh full-back Damien Hoyland dotting down for another try.

Shingler crossed for his second, before Lee-Lo got his try which was converted by second row Davies who was playing his last game before retirement.

Cardiff Rugby hooker Kirby Myhill finished superbly in the corner, although lighting didn’t strike twice with the touchline conversion heading wide.

Then the Whites joined in with the try scoring fun with Brandon Wood, Matthew Aubery and Willis Wood all scoring.

However, the final score of the night went to hooker Myhill, with Tongan international Elvis Taione converting for the final score of the evening.

A brilliant occasion to celebrate a phenomenal career and the anniversary of a great Welsh club.