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Jones: I'm more than injury cover


Adam Jones was left out of Wales' 34-man RBS 6 Nations training squad

Adam Jones was left out of Wales' 34-man RBS 6 Nations training squad

Adam Jones was left out of Wales' 34-man RBS 6 Nations training squad

Wales prop Adam Jones has said "I feel like I am more than just injury cover" after announcing his retirement from international rugby.

Jones, 33, won 95 Wales caps and played in five Tests for the British and Irish Lions.

He is also among a group of just six Wales players to have featured in three Grand Slam-winning teams.

The Cardiff Blues prop, though, was left out of Wales coach Warren Gatland's 34-man RBS 6 Nations training squad, which followed his omission from the autumn international series earlier this season.

Gatland opted for current number one Samson Lee, plus Aaron Jarvis and Scott Andrews as his tighthead prop options in the Six Nations, which kicks off when Wales host England on Friday week.

In a statement released by his agents Big Red Management, Jones said: "This year, I promised myself that I would work as hard as possible and do everything within my power to get back into the Wales squad.

"Despite putting my all into this, it has become apparent that it wasn't enough.

"I feel like I am more than just injury cover, and have therefore decided to call it a day.

"It has been a tough week for me, but the support from the Welsh fans has been overwhelming, just as it has been ever since my first cap."

Gatland has not yet responded to Jones' decision, but it is clear that the veteran tighthead has been left unimpressed by missing out on the Six Nations squad.

Before the squad was announced last Tuesday, Jones had been strongly backed to earn a recall, especially when Scarlets forward Rhodri Jones was ruled out of the entire Six Nations tournament due to a shoulder injury.

Speaking last Tuesday during his squad announcement press conference, Gatland said: "At the moment, Samson is our number one tighthead and we have been very impressed with his progress.

"We know exactly what Adam can and can't do, and things that he is still working on.

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"I don't think he is the sort of player that you pick on the bench and ask to make an impact. He is a starting number three.

"I know that he is working hard and the door is definitely not closed. When we name a larger squad of 45 in the summer to start preparing for the World Cup, he has got a big chance of being part of that."

Jones continued: " Playing for my country has been the proudest moment of my professional career.

"However, it is now time for me to step aside and let new talent run out in the red jersey of Wales.

"I am committed to my club Cardiff Blues and look forward to the rest of the season where we are targeting success in Europe and the Guinness PRO12.

"As a child it was my dream to play rugby for Wales.

"The sport is almost a religion here, and I am honoured to have played for my country and to have represented the British and Irish Lions.

"I have loved every minute playing for Wales - the highs far outweighing the lows - and I am incredibly proud of what I've achieved and accomplished in the red jersey."

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones, meanwhile, has hailed Jones for giving "everything to the sport of rugby" after he announced he is stepping down from the Test arena.

Jones, who skippered his namesake in Wales and Ospreys colours, said: "Playing alongside Bomb, as he is affectionately known, has been an honour and a privilege.

"During my captaincy and career he's been ever-present and always one of the first names on the team sheet.

"He was feared, respected and liked by the opposition, and a huge personality in the changing room.

"He has given everything to the sport of rugby, and I wish him all the best at the Blues as he continues his club career."

In a statement released by the Welsh Rugby Union on Sunday, Gatland thanked Jones for his contribution to Wales.

Gatland said: "I want to thank Adam for his achievement in winning 95 caps for Wales and earning five Test appearances for the British and Irish Lions.

"There is no doubt that Adam has played a huge part in Wales' success.

"He has three Grand Slams and a (Six Nations) championship to his name. That is an unbelievable record.

"He made a big impact and contribution on the international stage, and we all wish him well for his future career with the Cardiff Blues."

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