Jones adds to Wales' woes
Published 20/01/2011 | 11:32
Ospreys prop Adam Jones has been confirmed as the latest major injury casualty ahead of Wales' RBS 6 Nations Championship campaign.
The British and Irish Lions tighthead is expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks because of an elbow problem.
That means he is set to join his fellow Wales and Lions prop Gethin Jenkins in missing the whole Six Nations tournament, which Wales kick off against England in Cardiff on February 4.
Jones, who has won 68 caps, was hurt during the Ospreys' Heineken Cup loss to London Irish last weekend.
Jones' injury is the latest in a series of setbacks for Wales coach Warren Gatland, who has overseen a run of seven successive Test matches without a win.
Centres Tom Shanklin and Andrew Bishop are both absent from his Six Nations plans due to injury, while scrum-half Richie Rees - who provided bench cover throughout this season's autumn Test series - is banned until late March.
Gatland will name his Six Nations squad next Sunday or Monday, with Paul James expected to replace Jenkins against England, but ready-made alternatives to Jones are in short supply.
Gatland could consider the merits of an experienced player like Scarlets prop Iestyn Thomas, but that would mean James packing down in an unfamiliar tighthead position.
Jones' Ospreys colleague Craig Mitchell is the current favourite to take over from him, but Wales have lost arguably the world's best tighthead on current form.