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Williams making good progress

Wales' record international try-scorer Shane Williams could be fit for the RBS 6 Nations opener against England in Cardiff on February 4.

The Ospreys wing has been sidelined since dislocating his shoulder during Wales' home loss to world champions South Africa last month. He subsequently underwent surgery and was ruled out for an initial period of 10-12 weeks, suggesting he would struggle to make both the England game and Wales' Murrayfield appointment with Scotland eight days later.

"Shane is five weeks post-op and is coming along well," said Ospreys physiotherapist Chris Towers. "He is working hard and doing two or three sessions per day, so we are rehabbing him as hard as we can."

Ospreys conclude their Heineken Cup pool campaign against Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon on January 22, which is a possible comeback game for the 33-year-old.

And that would be music to the ears of Wales coach Warren Gatland, who has lost teenage Scarlets wing George North - another shoulder injury victim - from his early Six Nations plans.

"He's making good progress and we aren't ruling out a possible return for the Toulon game, which is in line with our original best case scenario, although he still has some way to go yet," added Towers.

The Ospreys are in a three-way fight with Toulon and Munster to secure top spot in Pool Three of this season's Heineken Cup, and an automatic quarter-final place.

Gatland, meanwhile, would eagerly welcome a fully fit Williams back to the fold.

Wales lost much of their attacking edge after he went off at half-time in the Springboks Test, and a potential Millennium Stadium battle opposite England try machine Chris Ashton could prove one of this season's Six Nations highlights.


From Belfast Telegraph