Wales, British Lion and now three-times Grand Slam-winning legend Alun Wyn Jones is set to be offered the freedom of his home city.
The Wales and former Ospreys captain captivated the world of rugby and his home nation at the weekend by leading the country to its third Grand Slam and fourth Six Nations championship in a decade.
And now Swansea-born Alun Wyn, who started his rugby career at Bonymaen Rugby Club, is destined to join the likes of Wales football stars Chris Coleman and John Charles to receive his home city’s highest honour.
Rob Stewart, Leader of the Council, said: “Barely had the final whistle gone on Saturday following the Grand Slam-clinching victory over Ireland before we began the process that will lead to Alun Wyn being awarded the freedom of the city.
“This year Swansea will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its city status which will make bestowing the honour on one of the greatest names in world rugby even more special.
“This honour is richly-deserved not just for the skill he shows on the pitch in every game he plays. This honour is in recognition of Alun Wyn Jones leadership and the example he sets to the rest of us.
“He’s a great ambassador for Swansea, working with the council and other organisations to raise the profile of the city and attract investment here.
“He is a credit to himself, to the world of sport and to his home city. Alun Wyn Jones is someone every young person can aspire to learn from. He has amazing presence on the field and is an inspiration to thousands.”
Cllr Stewart said, in line with convention, all four group leaders at Swansea Council had been asked for their approval and were enthusiastically supportive. A formal council motion will now be brought forward to endorse the offer followed by a ceremonial event to bestow the award upon him.
Alun Wyn Jones is Wales’ most-capped player and at 134, is fewer than 15 caps short of overhauling New Zealand legend Richie McCaw’s all-time record of 148. He captained the British Lions in the historic tour-winning test against Australia in 2013. He was also in the side that secured the famous drawn series against New Zealand in 2017.
Some commentators like former England star Will Greenwood argue that Jones is the best player world rugby has produced in the last 20 years. He was the first player to play nine consecutive British Lions tests in the professional era and has appeared in an Ospreys shirt more times than any other player.
The Freedom of the City of Swansea was awarded to Chris Coleman in 2016 for managing the Wales football team to the semi-final of the European Championships. John Charles, star of the 1958 World Cup team, was awarded the accolade in 2002. Fellow footballer Mel Nurse, who also played for Swansea and Wales and helped rescue the club from financial oblivion, was made a freeman of the city in 2016.
Others to have been granted the honour over the years include former US President Jimmy Carter, the late Lord Callaghan, HMS Scott, Dr Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and, most recently, the world-renowned conductor and composer Sir Karl Jenkins.