After a record 223 appearances for the Ospreys, Duncan Jones has announced his retirement from professional rugby due to injury.
An Ospreys ‘original’, Jones has decided to call-time on a long and distinguished first class career that goes back 18 years to his debut for Neath RFC in the pre-regional era, coming off the bench against Newport in August 1998.
He has opted to hang up his boots after suffering a foot injury earlier this year that has been restricting his ability to train and play to the best of his ability.
Having sought expert advice on the problem and discussing it at great length with specialists, unfortunately it became clear that they were unable to treat the injury, leading to him reluctantly making this decision.
Jones confirmed the news to his team-mates at Llandarcy this week before receiving recognition from colleagues, workmates and commercial partners at the annual awards dinner on Friday night.
Speaking about the decision, Duncan said:
“I’m really disappointed that I’ve had to make this decision at such an exciting time for the Ospreys. There’s a real buzz about the group at the moment having qualified for the play-offs and, personally speaking, it’s disappointing that I can’t help with the final push in the semis and, fingers crossed, the final.
“Looking a little further ahead, we have a strong set of props here, many of whom will be going to the World Cup later in the year and I had hoped that I could maybe stick around a little bit longer to help some of the youngsters who’ll still be involved during that period, but unfortunately that’s not to be.
“However, it’s fair to say that the region is in a strong position right now. The Ospreys have achieved so much since 2003 and I’m proud to have been able to play a small part in the success over the last 12 years, helping to create history. I think this group can go on and create more history of its own over the coming seasons and I’m now becoming a supporter watching with interest how they progress.
“I’m grateful to everybody I’ve worked with at Neath, with Wales, and, in particular at the Ospreys, for all the support I’ve had and for allowing me to enjoy some fantastic experiences and memories that will stay with me forever.”
The Blaengwynfi boy went on to play 105 times for Neath, scoring eight tries, and he played against Newport in the Principality Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in May 2001.
Following the inception of regional rugby in 2003 he made his Ospreys debut in a Heineken Cup tie against Toulouse in January 2004, and became the fourth player to reach 100 appearances in October 2008, against Harlequins at the Liberty Stadium. He then became the first player to break the 200 game landmark in a derby clash against the Scarlets in January 2014 and now stands clear at the top of the list on 223 appearances.
Duncan was a part of four league title winning squads at the Ospreys, captaining the team to its second success in 2007. He also played in both the EDF Energy Cup Finals against Leicester at Twickenham, the Ospreys winning the silverware in 2008.
Capped by Wales at all age-grade levels, he amassed 57 international caps in between 2001 and 2009, winning two Grand Slams and playing at two Rugby World Cups.