Former Wales and British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones “couldn’t turn down” the chance to join Top 14 side Toulon as a medical joker during this year’s World Cup.
The 37-year-old second-row forward is available after surprising many in bringing down the curtain on his stellar Test career – he played a world record 170 matches (158 for Wales, 12 for the Lions) – in May.
“I had the chance to reflect on my future when I ended my international career,” he told a press conference on Tuesday. “I’ve done a lot of things in my career and to play in France was one of my aims so when the chance came up I wasn’t able to refuse it.”
Jones, who had looked set for a fifth World Cup having been named in the preliminary squad, also ended his 17-year stay at Ospreys in June. The World Cup, which France is hosting, runs from 8 September to 28 October.
Jones is eager to test himself in the new surroundings of the Top 14. “I’ve played rugby long enough now to realise you never know what’s going to happen in the future,” he added.
“I see what [director of rugby] Pierre Mignoni wants to achieve with this team and I’m thrilled to be here but I haven’t proved anything yet.
“What I’ve done up to now counts for nothing, now I have to gain respect wearing the Toulon shirt.”
Mignoni says his star new recruit “wants to perform”, adding: “We watched his performances last season, they were incredible.”
Toulon begin the upcoming season away to Lyon on 19 August.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Christiaan Kotze/AFP