Former Wales prop Adam Jones has announced he will retire from playing at the end of the season to take up a position as assistant forwards coach at club Harlequins.
Jones had a stellar career that saw him earn 95 caps for his country as well as five Test appearances as a British and Irish Lion. In his 11 years as an international player, he won four Championships, three of which were Grand Slams — one of only six players to do so for Wales — and returned with a Lions series win in Australia. Here, we look back at some of his greatest moments during his 18 years in senior rugby. A dream Six Nations debut At just 22, Jones’ eighth international appearance saw him make his Championship debut, having already been to the 2003 World Cup, and it was a perfect start. Just 15 minutes into Wales’ match with Scotland in 2004, Wales worked the ball left to flanker Martyn Williams, who passed to Jones for him to touch down in the corner. It was his first of two international tries Jones scored — the second came against England in 2010 — and a great way to announce himself on the Championship stage.
A first Grand Slam
Jones, now a key member of the Wales squad, was instrumental in their first Grand Slam win since 1978 and their first Championship win since 1994.
The prop started all five games in 2005 having established himself since his international debut 18 months previously – prior to the 2003 World Cup. Wales became the first team to win a Grand Slam having played more games away than at home, emphasising the size of their achievement. Head coach Mike Ruddock placed faith in the inexperienced prop and it paid off, helping pave the way for his long record at international level.
Wales do it again three years later While winning a second Grand Slam in four years, Wales recorded the tightest defence in Six Nations history, conceding only two tries. Jones played in four games having missed out on the 2007 World Cup by then-head coach Gareth Jenkins. Under Warren Gatland though, Jones was reintegrated and his scrummaging power played a vital role in Wales’ success, particularly in Wales’ final match against holders France. Wales claimed a 29-12 win thanks in large part to the organisation and strength of the front row.
Jones ever-present in 2012 success A third Grand Slam in eight years cemented a hugely successful Six Nations career for Jones. With only three tries conceded and the fewest points conceded in any of his four tournament wins, it was an impressive set of performances. Jones played all five games for the fourth time, missing just 27 minutes of the tournament, with Gatland clearly appreciating just how important his presence was.
“I’m so passionately proud to have played so many times for Wales and was fortunate to be a part of three Grand Slam-winning teams,” said Jones.
It was a season to remember for Jones as he also lifted the PRO12 title with his Ospreys side after beating 31-30 success over Leinster at the RDS.
A victorious Lion On his second tour as a British and Irish Lion, Jones formed part of the Lions’ first series victory in 16 years, a 2-1 win in Australia. He started as tighthead prop in all three Tests, having been to South Africa four years previously, as the Lions sealed a memorable Test series victory.
Australia scored two penalties after Jones was replaced in the first Test, missing a further kick in the final ten seconds that would have seen them overturn a 21-23 deficit. It was only after his departure that Australia scored a try in the second Test, with England scoring only four of their 38 points without him on the pitch in the first two Tests. The next step?
The British and Irish Lion has now been appointed as Assistant Forwards Coach at The Stoop and will work alongside Forwards Coach Graham Rowntree.
“Adam’s formal retirement from playing clearly marks the end of a wonderful onfield career in rugby at the very highest level,” said Harlequins Director of Rugby John Kingston.
“His knowledge of the scrum dynamics is second to none with his experience and he has been a massive influence on our front row players, young and experienced alike.
“His relationship with Graham Rowntree is a very strong one. His influence within the club extends far beyond just on field as his outstanding interpersonal skills mean he offers so much to the wider environment.”