Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has signed a new contract with home-town club the Ospreys and the Welsh Rugby Union.
The 33-year-old’s new deal means he will stay in Wales until 2021 and has secured his future with the national team.
The second row helped Wales to a Six Nations Grand Slam earlier this year and is expected to lead the squad at the World Cup in Japan starting in September.
“I’m happy to announce that I have signed a contract extension to June 2021 with the Welsh Rugby Union and Ospreys so will be playing at the Liberty Stadium for the foreseeable future,” Jones said.
“I’m really pleased to have announced the extension today and to have been able to announce it directly to all those who have supported me throughout my career, especially all the Ospreys supporters.
“After serious consideration and taking stock of all options, it is the right decision for my career at this point in time, along with my personal ambitions on and off the field, my welfare and needs of my family.”
Jones has made more international appearances than any other active second row with 125 Wales caps and nine more for the British & Irish Lions during tours to South Africa (2009), Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017).
The latest deal opens the door for a fourth bow with the Lions when they travel to South Africa in 2021, although Jones will then be 35.
He also has the record number of appearances for the Ospreys with 238 and has been captain at the club since 2010.
“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for us as a club and all Ospreys and Wales supporters,” said Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke.
“Alun Wyn is a man I have the upmost respect for. He is greatly admired not just because of what he’s achieved and what he represents as a local boy playing for his home region and country but importantly because of the ambition and level of performance he consistently displays.
“He’s a tremendous individual and a winner with a deep hunger for the Ospreys to be successful on and off the field.”
Jones had been linked with a move away from the Ospreys after a superb Six Nations saw him named Player of the Championship.
But by signing the so-called national dual contract he has kept alive the possibility of being available for all international matches with Wales beyond the World Cup.
The WRU had announced it will scrap national dual contracts, whereby the union pays 60% of player wages and the Welsh region plays 40%, but Jones’ agreement seems to be an exception.
“This announcement is a huge boost for Welsh rugby,” said WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips. “The extension allows the WRU and the Ospreys to continue working together with Alun Wyn to ensure he has the very best of environments to thrive in.”