Welsh rugby has been hit with the announcement that Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric will be retiring from test rugby.
Both players were named in Warren Gatland's preliminary World Cup squad, with international rugby's main event just four months away.
37-year-old Jones is rugby's all-time test cap record holder with 170 caps, while the 33-year-old Tipuric has 94 to his name.
Tipuric said in is statement that he will continue to tog out for the Ospreys, although it is unclear whether Jones, who was expected to retire from all rugby after the World Cup, has played his last game in the sport.
It is yet another shocking turn of events in Welsh rugby following on from contract issues in February which nearly caused a player strike during the Six Nations.
You can read Jones' statement below:
Having been selected in this year's preliminary Rugby World Cup squad, and after ongoing dialogue with the coaching staff and the WRU, I have decided to step away from the international game. So, after 17 years I look back on special memories with Welsh greats and future Welsh greats.
"My grandfather and father both nurtured my passion for rugby in my younger days which has continued throughout. The opportunity to be professional in the sport I love was a dream come true, and to represent my home region, the Ospreys, and clubs within the region, namely Mumbles and particularly Bonymaen who guided me in my favourite years, was beyond special and something for which I am hugely grateful.
A huge thank you to the staff and players who have been part of my journey, I wish you all well for the future. To the supporters, thank you for the support and making the most special occasions even more memorable. To the people closest to me, my family, I couldn't have done it without you. Through injury, loss and success, you've always been there and will be for whatever's next.
Despite all I have accomplished, my children will always be my biggest achievement.
Alun Wyn Jones And Justin Tipuric Announce Shock Retirement
Goodbye from a legend. Alun Wyn Jones ends Test career 🏴 pic.twitter.com/aSCC74S4l7
— Phil Blanche 🏴 (@philblanche) May 19, 2023
— Win (@win_sports_) May 19, 2023
READ HERE: Alun Wyn Jones' Farewell Speech Had Lions 'Close To Tears'
Tipuric also released a farewell statement thanking his teammates and coaches:
"During the off season I've had time to reflect on my career and now seems the right time to step away from international rugby.
"It's been a privilege to put on the Welsh jersey and have so many great memories.
"I'd like to thank all the players and coaches that I've been fortunate enough to work with over the years and the wonderful support I've received from the Welsh public.
"I'm looking forward to spending more time at home and putting all my energies into playing for my home region the Ospreys."