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Alun Wyn Jones plays for both teams as the Barbarians beat Swansea

By PA
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Barbarians)

Wales great Alun Wyn Jones returned to the scene where his stellar world record-breaking career began by playing for both teams as the Barbarians beat Swansea 68-33 at St Helen’s.

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Jones announced his retirement from international rugby earlier this month after making a world record 170 Test match appearances for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

The former Wales captain skippered the Barbarians to victory against a World XV at Twickenham on Sunday. And in glorious sunshine at the ground where it all started as a Swansea player in 2004, a bumper crowd of more than 6,200 – the All Whites’ largest home attendance for many years – paid homage.

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Jones has yet to declare whether or not he will play on next season, but at 37, if this was his farewell then he could have hardly hoped for a more fitting script.

He played the first half in Baa-Baas’ black and white, before leading Swansea out for the second period in the All Whites’ 150th anniversary year.

Jones, wearing the black and red socks of Bonymaen Rugby Club – his youth rugby team – oversaw an impressive opening as the Barbarians ran in converted tries from Olly Robinson, Steve Shingler and Taichi Takahashi. Jones was joined in the Barbarians team by the likes of Wales flanker Dan Lydiate and former England centre Billy Twelvetrees.

And Jones’ second-row partner – former Wales forward and ex-Cardiff, Wasps and Ospreys lock Bradley Davies – made his final appearance before retirement.

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Davies, who kicked a second-half conversion, even had time to punch the air before binding down for a scrum when it was announced that the outdoor bars would remain open until 10pm!

Acknowledging Jones’ achievements ahead of kick-off, Barbarians coach John Mulvihill said: “It was really nice to spend a few hours with him Tuesday and really get to know him.

“We have spoken to each other a number of times, but to sit down and have a coffee and a beer it was really nice to see what he has done and what rugby means to him. It is awesome.

“He has done everything in the game for Wales and the British and Irish Lions. Seventeen years as a professional Test player.”

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The Barbarians first visited St Helen’s in 1901, with their Easter tour becoming a popular part of the rugby calendar as they also took on Penarth, Cardiff and Newport between Good Friday and the day after Easter Monday.

But they had not played Swansea since 1994, giving added impetus to what was a true festival occasion as Jones received fitting acclaim and finished the game back as the Baa-Baas’ number five as his team scored 10 tries.

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