...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
As the conclusion of the World Cup approaches, many players over 30 are considering retirement from international rugby.
Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric have already announced their retirement from Test rugby, four months before the global tournament kicks off in France.
Given the aging squad inherited by coach Warren Gatland, it is expected that the World Cup will mark the end of the road for several other Welsh players.
At 34 years old, Halfpenny is recognized as one of Wales’ most technically proficient full-backs.
While most back-three players rely on pace, Halfpenny’s positional play, defensive skills, and goal kicking have extended his career.
Following the World Cup, his kicking prowess may earn him a contract, although any new employer outside of Wales would likely expect his availability throughout the season.
Given his age and injury history, Wales is likely to look for a fresh direction in the upcoming Six Nations.
The Scarlets hooker has been a key figure in the Welsh team for over a decade and has showcased impressive set-piece abilities.
At 36 years old, Gatland may decide to move on after the World Cup and place his trust in young Dewi Lake as the first-choice hooker.
Owens came close to retirement last year due to a back injury but made a successful comeback.
Given his contributions and dedication to his country, it would be surprising if he didn’t retire after the World Cup.
The experienced fly-half is a crucial figure for Wales and could even be named captain for the World Cup.
Although rumors suggested he might retire alongside Jones and Tipuric, Biggar has denied them.
At 33 years old, he still has much to offer and could provide mentorship to younger players like Sam Costelow after the World Cup.
However, Biggar might feel that he has achieved everything possible in a Wales shirt and focus solely on playing for Toulon, who would want him available as much as possible.
Faletau, a Cardiff star, has shown no decline in his class despite his age.
At 32 years old, he is considered one of the top No. 8s in the world and remains a vital asset for Wales’ success in the World Cup.
Many No. 8s continue playing Test rugby well into their mid and late 30s, as seen with players like Kieran Read and Duane Vermeulen.
With no obvious replacement in Wales, Faletau’s contributions are likely to continue, and he may even aim to play in the 2027 World Cup.
Despite being 35 years old, Lydiate continues to play at the highest level, demonstrating remarkable commitment and physicality.
He has recently returned to the Dragons after leaving the Ospreys and has been named in Gatland’s World Cup training squad.
The World Cup will probably mark the end of his Test career in Wales.
At 32 years old, Anscombe still has a few seasons to offer after the World Cup.
He recently left the Ospreys and his next destination is uncertain, although there are rumors linking him to clubs in France and Japan.
The recent change in eligibility rules would allow Anscombe to continue playing for Wales if he signs with a club outside the country.
His decision may depend on his next contract and his physical readiness for Test rugby after previous injuries.
Webb, at 34 years old, is considered Wales’ best scrum-half and will play a significant role in the upcoming World Cup.
However, once the tournament concludes, Gatland may opt for a more youthful direction.
Webb will not be playing for the
Ospreys next season and has attracted interest from clubs in France, England, Japan, the US, and Super Rugby.
While he is unlikely to officially retire from international rugby, his focus may shift to his club career and experiencing new cultures outside of Wales.
These assessments provide an overview of what may lie ahead for veteran Welsh players after the World Cup, taking into account their age, contributions, and potential future opportunities.