A PONTARDAWE rugby player was one of three given a fitting send-off as Wales faced the Barbarians invitational side on the weekend.

Justin Tipuric – from Alltwen – joined Alun Wyn Jones and Leigh Halfpenny in saying farewell to the Principality Stadium crowd in the game.

Tipuric and Jones took to the field for the Barbarians, with the latter captaining the side, whilst Halfpenny laced up his boots for the national side for the final time. Although he would not add to his 101 caps for his country as the match was an uncapped affair.

The trio won 352 caps for their country between them, with 93 for Tipuric, 101 for Halfpenny and 158 for Jones.

Unfortunately for Tipuric and Jones, they were on the losing side as Wales – captained by Brynamman’s Jac Morgan – ran out 49-26 winners, although Tipuric impressed his former head coach.

South Wales Guardian: Justin Tipuric during his final international appearance.Justin Tipuric during his final international appearance. (Image: Press Association)

Wales’ Dewi Lake, Tom Rogers and Sam Costelow scored tries in the first half, with Barbarians coming back with two tries from Simione Kuruvoli and in the second half, Jones went over himself. Nicolas Sanchez would kick two conversions for the Barbarians. Barbarians would get another try in the second half as Tom Hooper went over, with Ben Donaldson adding the conversion.

In the second half, replacements Taine Plumtree and Aaron Wainwright went over for Wales. Replacement scrum half Kieran Hardy – from Pontyberem – would go over for two tries in the last few minutes of the game.

Halfpenny would go on to kick five conversions before he was replaced to a standing ovation from the 53,000-strong crowd. Cai Evans would add the final two conversions for Wales.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland said: “For the three of them, to have that game here in the stadium was incredibly special.

“I thought the crowd were amazing in recognising that as well.

“I thought ‘Tips’ played well today, he caused us a few problems at the breakdown. I said that to him afterwards and he said: ‘there’s still life in the old boy yet.’”