These from WalesOnline:
“Having been selected in this year’s preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and after ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and the WRU, I have decided to step away from the international game.
“So, after 17 years I look back on special memories with Welsh greats and future Welsh greats. My grandfather and father nurtured my passion for rugby in my younger days which has continued throughout.
“The opportunity to be professional in the sport I love was a dream come true and to represent my home region, the Ospreys and clubs within the region, namely Mumbles and particularly Bonymaen who guided me in my formative years, was beyond special and something for which I am hugely grateful.
“A huge thank you to the staff and players who have been part of my journey, I wish you well for the future. To the supporters, thank you for the support and making the most special occasions even more memorable.
“To the people closest to me, my family, I couldn’t have done it without you. Through injury, loss and success, you’ve always been there and will be for whatever’s next. Despite all I have accomplished, my children will always be my biggest achievement.
“Diolch, Alun Wyn. Cymru am byth.”
Paying tribute to his former Wales and Lions captain Jones, Gatland said of the world record cap-holder:
“I’d like to congratulate Al on a phenomenal international career. His leadership, dedication and determination are second to none and he has been an incredibly special player for Wales over the past 17 years.
“Every single time he has taken to the training pitch or put on the red jersey in a Test match he has given his absolute all: setting standards and leading by example. I am very fortunate to have been able to have worked with him, with Wales and with the Lions.
“Al’s passion and commitment for his country are limitless and he has been an important pillar for the game in Wales. He and his family can be immensely proud of all he has achieved and in knowing he leaves a lasting legacy in Welsh rugby. We all wish him the very best for the future. Diolch yn fawr iawn am bopeth Al.”
WRU interim chief executive Nigel Walker said: “Alun has been the ultimate servant to Welsh rugby. A powerhouse in the pack his mobility around the field and his inspiring leadership both on and off the pitch has been second to none. His longevity is testament to his professionalism, passion and desire to represent his country. He will be missed on the international stage by Welsh rugby supporters around the globe. He retires from international rugby having earned the respect of all those who have had the pleasure of seeing him play and he is a credit to the game.”
Thanks…for everything…. a true legend….
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