British & Irish Lions
Ryan Jones set to return ahead of schedule
April 9, 2013
Ryan Jones leaves the field after suffering a shoulder injury against Scotland © PA Photos
Wales flanker Ryan Jones looks set to return to the field before the end of the season and is hopeful of forcing his way into the British & Irish Lions reckoning.
Jones, who skippered Wales in three of their Six Nations matches, broke a bone in his shoulder while playing against Scotland on March 9 and at the time, it looked unlikely that he would recover in time before the end of the season. But he has revealed that he is just two weeks away from making his return from injury and he could feature for the Ospreys in their season run-in.
Lions coach Warren Gatland will name his squad for the 2013 tour on April 30 and Jones is optimistic of getting some match time under his belt before that announcement. "It's terrific news and I'm obviously delighted," Jones told the Telegraph. "I'm back running and doing some weights and a month down the line from that dreadful day at Murrayfield, things are looking good.
"Ideally, I would be looking to play over the weekend of the 27th and 28th April, but unfortunately, it's the Heineken Cup semi-finals and we are not in it. Because of that, I have thought about aiming for the weekend before against Glasgow. I've got an outside chance, but obviously, I won't rush things if it's not the right thing to do. If not, I will certainly be there for the game against Leinster over the first weekend in May."
Jones toured with the Lions to New Zealand in 2005 and played in all three Tests. In 2009, he was called up as a replacement for the inured Stephen Ferris but a previous concussion prevented him from playing any part in the series. The 2013 tour to Australia will, in all likelihood, be his last chance of pulling on the red Lions jersey and he is hopeful of getting the nod.
"I know that players are reluctant to speak of the Lions, especially when they are caught up in a busy Six Nations season," Jones added. "However, it's always there in the back of your mind and I'm certainly no different to anyone else. I have thought about it since the beginning of the season and I'm still thinking about it now. I suppose the news that I've had this week helps, because now I've got an opportunity that I didn't believe I would have."
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