Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ryan Jones doubtful for Ireland as Wales back row woe deepens

WALES are facing a back-row crisis ahead of their visit to Ireland in 13 days time.

With the disgraced Andy Powell out in the cold, captain Ryan Jones has emerged as a Dublin doubt after struggling through the 26-20 defeat to France with a calf injury.

“I struggled all week and was not able to do much training in the build-up to the game,” said Jones.

“I managed to get through the match, but it is pretty sore. We will see what the next couple of days might bring up.”

The Wales squad meet up again tomorrow with Jones expected to see a specialist this week. If the Ospreys skipper fails to make the Croke Park clash, Warren Gatland faces a No 8 headache with no clear replacement in the current squad.

The options would be Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton or Jonathan Thomas, but the trio are natural flankers.

Gatland would most likely turn to Thomas or Blues rookie Warburton who packed down at the base of the scrum in training last week in the absence of Jones.

But Wales could go outside the squad and call in Gloucester captain Gareth Delve.

Wales insist Powell still has an international future, but it is highly unlikely that the Lions back-rower will return to the squad so soon after being dropped.

The 28-year-old was punished after the Scotland game when he drove a golf buggy along the M4 motorway, allegedly under the influence of alcohol.

Powell missed the French defeat after being thrown out of the squad and is due to appear at Cardiff magistrates’ court on Tuesday.

Gatland is also waiting on the fitness of Lions front-row duo Matthew Rees and Gethin Jenkins, plus Blues hooker Gareth Williams.

Rees has not featured in the Six Nations because of a groin injury and is set to return for the Scarlets against Ulster on Friday.

Jenkins limped off with a recurrence of a calf problem against Scotland last week and faces a race against time to prove his fitness.

Deiniol Jones’ rib injury will be monitored after the Blues lock was forced off in the first half against France.

Ireland V Wales Hospitality

Ireland V Scotland Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

No comments:

Post a Comment