Ospreys’ Head Coach, Steve Tandy, has led the tributes to Duncan Jones after the region’s all-time record appearance maker announced his retirement from professional rugby.
An ‘original’ from the first season of regional rugby, Tandy hailed Jones as “an amazing servant, an outstanding rugby player and a true great of the region who will be missed by everybody at the Ospreys”.
Jones has decided to hang up his boots after suffering a foot injury earlier this year that has been restricting his ability to train and play to his best 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 earlier this week before receiving recognition from colleagues, workmates and commercial partners at the annual awards dinner on Friday night.
Reflecting on Jones’ illustrious career, Tandy said:
“I’ve been fortunate enough to share a dressing room with Duncan for many years, first at Neath and then the Ospreys and I can only describe him as an amazing servant, an outstanding rugby player and a true great of the region.
“I’m proud that I can also call him a great friend, first and foremost, who will be sorely missed by everybody at the Ospreys. With all his achievements, and being top of the all time appearances, there is no doubt that he is a true Ospreys legend, someone deserving of the accolade.”
Ospreys Chairman, Roger Blyth, also paid tribute, saying:
“When you go back to the formation of the region in 2003 with the coming together of Neath and Swansea, you can see how fortunate we were to have so many individuals of real character and quality, people like Barry Williams, Shane Williams, Andrew Millward and Steve Tandy, real strong club men who have gone on to make history as Ospreys and shape who we are today.
“I would put Duncan very high in that list. He has been outstanding for the Ospreys since day one. His desire for the region and his pride in the jersey is unrivalled and is passion makes him an example for any youngster coming through the ranks.
“Despite all his achievements he remains the most humble of people and I’ve no doubt that he will find the undoubted fuss around this announcement embarrassing. However, someone who has given such outstanding service to the Ospreys, and to rugby in Wales in general, deserves to have his achievements acknowledged in this way. While this is a sad moment for him, his family and for the region, lets celebrate everything he has stood for throughout his career.”
Andrew Hore, Ospreys Chief Executive, added:
“I’ve known Duncan for the last 15 years, since I first arrived at the WRU, and have the utmost respect for him as a person and a rugby player.
“His achievements as a player, with Wales and the Ospreys, speak for themselves, but it is his efforts off the field that will possibly ensure his greatest legacy.
“Duncan is a true Osprey who has always put the team first, without exception. A fantastic role model, the hard work he constantly puts in to help others, sometimes to his own detriment, speaks for itself.
“An individual of real honesty and integrity, when he reflects on his outstanding career he can do so with a real pride about what he has achieved.”