Stephen Jones has vowed to 'work hard' for a Wales recall

Stephen Jones
Jones made his Test debut in Wales' record loss to South Africa in 1998

Wales' record cap holder Stephen Jones has insisted he will not retire from international rugby even though he was left out of the latest Welsh squad.

Warren Gatland overlooked Jones for his squad to face Australia in Cardiff on 3 December as the Wales coach has picked Rhys Priestland and Dan Biggar.

But Jones has vowed to fight his way back into Wales' Six Nations squad.

"You knuckle down, work hard on your game and you enjoy your rugby and and get on with things," said Jones.

"I've got no decision to make. I am going to keep on playing, it is as simple as that.

"I have a good relationship with the coaches and all I can do is keep my head down, work hard and enjoy it. That's all I will do."

Captain Jones kicked six out of six as the experienced fly-half inspired his Scarlets to a 22-12 Pro 12 win over the Dragons on Friday on his 300th appearance for the Llanelli-based side.

Gatland has left the 33-year-old out of his Wales squad with the aim of developing younger players like Priestland and Biggar who will be still available for the Welsh team at the 2015 World Cup.

Priestland impressed in Wales' number 10 jersey as Gatland's team finished fourth at this year's World Cup and the 24-year-old is set to continue against the Wallabies at the Millennium Stadium.

Priestland, who was unavailable for the Scarlets on Friday because of his international call, has seemingly moved ahead of Jones in the regional pecking order as he played against Northampton in the Heineken Cup, starring as man-of-the-match in Scarlets' 28-23 win at Franklin's Gardens.

Biggar has been in great form for the Ospreys this season and enjoyed a host of man-of-the-match displays, especially in Europe.

Perpignan fly-half James Hook is unavailable for the Australia game so Priestland is likely to start and win his 10th cap in the World Cup third place play-off repeat in Cardiff.

But Jones will hope to force his way back into Wales selection for their Six Nations campaign, which starts in Ireland on 5 February.

"Stephen hasn't retired," Gatland has confirmed. "Stephen is not selected.

"We know what Stephen can give us.

"This is a chance to give someone else an opportunity in the squad - and we all recognised how well Rhys Priestland played in the World Cup."

Jones, a two-time Lions tourist and Test rugby's sixth highest points scorer, is the Welsh record appearance holder with 104 Test caps.

The former Wales captain is also Wales' second highest points scorer of all time behind Neil Jenkins (1,049), scoring 917 points in a 13-year international career.

But Gatland explained why he did not pick the double Grand Slam-winner in his 28-man squad to face the Aussies yet named 34-year-old wing Shane Williams.

"This is a special game as we've had an opportunity to celebrate Shane Williams' career as he has announced his retirement," said Gatland.

"We will use this game to say thank you to Shane Williams for all he has given to Welsh rugby so that is quite different to the situation that Stephen Jones is in."

Top Stories