Scarlets ace Jones calls it a day
January 4, 2011
Dafydd Jones has announced his retirement from top-flight rugby © Getty Images
Wales and Scarlets forward Dafydd Jones has been forced to retire because of a long-standing shoulder injury.
The 31-year-old back-row, who made 201 appearances during a 13-year spell in Llanelli, damaged his A/C joint while representing his country during the November international against New Zealand in 2009. He underwent surgery two days after sustaining the injury but, after an unsuccessful rehabilitation programme, was forced to go under the knife again six months later. After further consultation with specialists just before Christmas, Jones has now reluctantly decided to call time on his professional career.
"This has been a really tough time for me and my family and it's a very hard decision to retire from rugby which has been the sport and career I've known and loved since I was a teenager," he said. "All my efforts have gone into playing rugby for the Scarlets and for Wales and I am very proud of and enjoyed everything I have done.
"It has taken a while to sink in that I'm not actually going to be playing any more, but the decision was really made for me as the medics said there was no way back from the damage caused by the injury.
"The good thing is I have great memories of playing - some great contests and victories to look back on with real enjoyment, I'm lucky that I've played alongside, against and worked with some world-class rugby greats.
"I'd really like to thank everyone that's supported me over the past decade and a half and I appreciate all the chances and experiences I've had. I haven't decided fully what I want to do next, but I'm really grateful to the Scarlets, who are giving me the next six months to get experience of working within the region to help me identify where my future path might be and what's best for my and family - whether inside or outside rugby."
Jones, who was capped 42 times by Wales, is to continue working with the Scarlets for the next six months in a variety of roles within the rugby region aimed at developing his "non-rugby skills and experience". Scarlets head coach Nigel Davies is delighted that Jones has decided to remain on with the club until the end of the season.
"Daf has been a trusted, committed and respected senior member of this Scarlets squad and a loyal servant to our team for over a decade. All his colleagues here are really disappointed to see such a great player and popular teammate having to end his career early," he said.
"He was a formidable player to have in your squad, a guy you can rely on - with huge guts and spirit and a totally committed player on the field. He's been a firm favourite amongst players and supporters alike for his brave, honest and down-to-earth attitude.
"He's been a committed Scarlet with a real belief in Scarlets rugby and our values. He's rightly a local hero in West Wales and has undoubtedly inspired many younger rugby players get involved in the game.
"We're pleased that he will be staying on with us until the end of the season while he decides where he wants to take his future and whether it's going to be in rugby or not, he will have the full support of our region from Scarlets colleagues and supporters alike."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Bows, bouts and big hits, launches, lineouts and late tries. Here's the finest snaps from the last seven days: it's Week in Pictures time
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview