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Jones to miss start of Six Nations

Wales' injury crisis deepened when flanker Ryan Jones was ruled out for three to four weeks with a dislocated thumb suffered in the Ospreys' Heineken Cup draw with Leicester.

Interim head coach Rob Howley is due to name his RBS 6 Nations squad on Tuesday but his options have been decimated by injury, particularly in the lock department.

Alun-Wyn Jones, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies and Ian Evans are all currently injured while Jones, who could have moved from the back row to act as an emergency lock, has now joined them.

Although Jones will have his injury assessed next week, the initial prognosis will rule the former Wales captain out of their opening two fixtures against Ireland and France.

Alun-Wyn Jones is not expected back in action until late February or early March after undergoing surgery on a shoulder injury he suffered in Wales' autumn Test defeat to Argentina two months ago.

Perpignan forward Charteris is out for the season with knee ligament damage, while Cardiff Blues lock Davies faces an operation this week on an ankle problem.

Ospreys second-row Evans has not played since the autumn internationals because of a knee injury while blindside flanker Dan Lydiate is still on the comeback trail from an ankle ligament injury.

Howley's squad is likely to include Australia-born lock James King, who played his early rugby in north Wales with Mold, while his uncapped Ospreys colleague Lloyd Peers could also feature.

Such is the extent of Wales' second-row injury problems, that a recall for 36-year-old Ian Gough might even be considered. Howley's fresh injury worries are not restricted to the second row, given that Ospreys hooker Richard Hibbard was forced off with what appeared to be a recurrence of shoulder trouble.

Behind the scrum, Wales are also without fly-half Rhys Priestland while Ashley Beck is out with an ankle injury.


From Belfast Telegraph