WALES ARE GREAT TO TAKE PART AT 2023 WORLD CUP – COACH WAYNE PIVAC
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac says he expects Alun Wyn Jones to participate at the 2023 World Cup.
Alun Wyn Jones will become the first player in the world to win 150 caps when Wales face Italy on Saturday, 19 March,2022.
2023 World Cup in France would be the fifth of the British and Irish Lions captain’s illustrious career.
“I hope so because we’ve contracted him that far. There was never any question in my mind, unless there was injury,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“He clearly has to maintain form and be selectable. Certainly he and I have the understanding that’s his target, that’s what he’s going towards and we’ve certainly discussed that.”
If he achieves that aim, world-record cap holder Jones will celebrate his 38th birthday during the 2023 global tournament.
His next immediate major milestone will come when Wales host Italy in their final match of this year’s Six Nations.
For the second time in less than a year, the veteran lock has defied medical predictions to make an early return to action.
Last summer he captained the Lions in their Test series against South Africa after swiftly overcoming a shoulder injury.
And after suffering another shoulder problem in Wales’ autumn Test against New Zealand five months ago – he required two operations – many forecasts suggested Jones might struggle to play again this season.
But he is back and set to win his 150th Wales cap alongside his 12 Lions Tests, to stretch his world appearance record to 162 internationals.
“He’s been with us a few weeks and we’ve monitored him. He’s trained very well, ticked all the boxes,” said Pivac.
“To be playing 150 Test matches, something no one else on the planet has ever done, just shows he’s a special person. We think he’s one who can come back as he’s done in the past.”
In Jones’ absence, fly-half Dan Biggar has captained Wales during this Six Nations campaign, in which they lost in their penultimate 2022 tournament game against Grand Slam-chasing France last Friday.
Biggar remains captain and will make his 100th appearance for Wales against Italy.
Pivac said it was “definitely” not a sentimental decision to select Jones and Biggar, even if there is little riding on Saturday’s match with Wales losing three of their four matches so far.
“Certainly, nothing from the marketing department from the WRU [Welsh Rugby Union],” the New Zealander added.
“I’d like to think it puts extra bums on seats and I would like to think we get a sell-out crowd to recognise Dan’s achievement and Alun Wyn’s achievement, which nobody else on the planet has done.
“To have two guys achieve those milestones on the same day is something special. It’s a rugby decision, that’s what we have decided, and we are very comfortable with the decision.”