Queen’s Birthday Honours for Alun Wyn Jones, Warren Gatland and Gareth Thomas


(Left to right) Alun Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas, Warren Gatland
(Left to right) Alun Wyn Jones, Gareth Thomas and Warren Gatland have all contributed to Welsh rugby union success

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones, former skipper Gareth Thomas and ex-head coach Warren Gatland are among the recipients of the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

British and Irish Lion Jones, who has won a record 138 caps for Wales, becomes an OBE for services to rugby.

Thomas, who has also led the Lions, receives the higher CBE award for services to sport and health.

Gatland becomes a CBE for services to rugby in Wales after a 12-year reign which yielded three Grand Slams.

The 57-year-old New Zealander also guided Wales to two Rugby World Cup semi-finals before stepping down from his role in 2019.

“I am incredibly honoured,” said Gatland.

“This award is recognition of everyone involved in Welsh rugby and all that we achieved together during my time as head coach.

“Rugby is a huge part of my life and has given me so much joy as a player, a father to a rugby-playing son and also as a coach.

“It has also given me so many incredible friendships and experiences too. I feel very fortunate to be able to do something I love every day, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported me during my career.”

The only player to feature in all three of Gatland’s Six Nations Grand Slams with Wales in 2008, 2012 and 2019 was Jones, who is regarded as one of the world’s best second rows.

The Ospreys player, 35, made his Wales debut in 2006 and remains an inspirational figure for his country having been named the player of the 2019 Six Nations.

Jones has also made nine Test appearances for the Lions over the course of three tours, captaining them to victory in the decisive third Test against Australia in 2013.

“It is a huge honour to receive such an accolade,” said Jones.

“I was initially reluctant to receive such an award in these trying times when there are so many people doing so much good for the community and are more worthy, but I see this as an acknowledgement to all the people who have helped me throughout my career.

“It is recognition for everyone that has supported me from grassroots and intermediate, to professional and international rugby.

“It is for my family, those who aren’t here anymore and those who are still here and fully behind me and for all their support in what I have done and what I want to continue to do.”

Thomas, who captained the Lions on their 2005 tour of New Zealand, is recognised for his work outside of rugby as well as his exploits as a player.

The 46-year-old has campaigned for several causes since retiring after a distinguished career which saw him win 100 rugby union caps for Wales, who he also represented in rugby league.

The former Wales and Lions captain revealed in 2019 that he was HIV positive and talked of his fear around keeping the condition a secret.

Thomas completed the Ironman triathlon in Pembrokeshire after making the announcement and was praised by Prince Harry after speaking about how his HIV diagnosis inspired him to educate others.



BBC News