Wayne Pivac believes Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones will be remembered as “one of the greatest players of all time”.
Jones helped steer Wales to their sixth Guinness Six Nations title, which was confirmed by Scotland’s victory over France on Friday.
It was the fifth Six Nations crown of Jones’ stellar Test career and came 13 years after his first.
The 35-year-old has played more Tests – 157 for Wales and the British and Irish Lions – than any other player and is showing no sign of slowing up.
He is also firm favourite to lead the Lions against South Africa this summer and Pivac’s praise for his skipper is limitless.
Jones’ performances in the Six Nations came after he spent two months out of the game due to a knee injury before returning in Wales’ tournament opener against Ireland last month.
“Alun Wyn will go down as one of the greatest players of all time and rightly so,” Pivac said as Wales received the trophy at their Vale of Glamorgan training base.
“I suspected he would go well (in the Six Nations), but he surpassed what I thought he would deliver.
“He was superb and it is not just what you see on a given day in a Test match, it is what he does every minute of every training session. He leads from the front physically and it is just incredible.
“Again, it’s the pride in the jersey and playing for his country.
“For a small nation, people will say we punch above our weight, but there is a lot of history there and a lot of motivated people.
“He is our leader on the field and off the field. He does a fantastic job.”
Jones revealed that he had a “pretty standard” Friday night as Wales’ title ambitions were ultimately realised.
He said: “It was just a normal night really. Kids to bed and then it was a bit of a small matter of a rugby match on that I caught the last 20 minutes of, so pretty standard really.
“The last 12 months has been very different, not only in the sporting world, but everywhere.
“It has been very different in many ways and a long week, not preparing on a game that has a bearing on where you finish. So it was a strange one.”
Reflecting on the campaign, he added: “I am just really proud of the attitude on the field, but also the discipline off-field.
“Obviously, we have had our blips like most environments have because of the situation, but to be able to come through it like we have just makes you proud.
“Considering the state of things and what was said coming into this campaign, to a man I am very proud to be associated with the staff and management and the current crop of players.”