Former Wales skipper Jones forced to retire

Former Wales Six Nations Grand Slam winning captain Ryan Jones has announced
that he will retire from the game due to injury.

Thirty-four-year-old Jones has been forced to hang up his playing boots due
to a shoulder injury that he had surgery on.

The Bristol back-row player underwent surgery three months ago in an effort
to get back to full fitness, but it soon became clear that he could not continue
playing.

Jones won 75 caps for Wales, featuring in three Six Nations Grand Slam-winning
teams, while he also played in all three Tests for the 2005 British and Irish
Lions against New Zealand.

On top of his successful international career, Jones was a key player for Welsh
side the Ospreys for several seasons before making a move to Bristol.

“The old cliche of making the decision with a heavy heart is true on this
occasion,” he said.

“The last few weeks have been emotionally tough for me. I’ve had to recognise,
and come to terms with, the fact that while the mind is still very willing,
the body is no longer able to do what I want it to on a rugby pitch.

“After sustaining a shoulder injury in May and subsequently undergoing
surgery to repair the damage, it became clear that I could no longer carry on,
leaving me with little option other than to call time on what has been an incredible
personal journey.”

Jones added that rugby would “continue to be a big part of my life”.

“For now, I look forward to enjoying the Rugby World Cup as a Welsh supporter,
knowing from my own personal experiences in 2011 that it is the biggest spectacle
in the sport.”

Newport-born Jones, who was once a goalkeeper on Bristol City’s books, took
up rugby at the age of 17.

After making his Wales debut against South Africa in 2004, he went on to skipper
his country 33 times, a record that was only surpassed by current captain Sam
Warburton earlier this year.

Bristol rugby director and former England flanker Andy Robinson told the club’s
website that Jones had enjoyed “a fine career”.

Robinson said: “What he has achieved at the very highest level for his
country and the Lions is fantastic, and underlines his qualities as a person
and a player. He was a very tough opponent to coach against, and a great player
to coach.”

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