Davies doubtful of Welsh selection

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Jonathan Davies's hopes of returning to the international scene have been dealt a major blow. Davies entered hospital yesterday for a knee operation that threatens to rule him out of taking any part in this season's Five Nations' Championship.

He has already been restricted to just five appearances for Cardiff since his return to rugby union at the beginning of November after leading Wales to the semi- finals of the Rugby League World Cup.

Neil Jenkins' hopes of re-starting his international career will depend on a practice session against Wales Under-21 on Monday night. Wales' record points-scorer was denied an attempt to play his first game in six weeks when Pontypridd's match against New South Wales was called off at the last minute on Saturday.

Jenkins, who had sped back from Wales' training camp in Pembroke to play, now has to hope he can take a full part in Monday night's contact session to prove his fitness for Saturday's match against England at Twickenham.

"We were hoping that Neil would get a game in and it's disappointing that he's unable to do so," Derek Quinnell, the Welsh manager, said. "It has made it more difficult for us to select him now, but his name is still in the hat. He mustn't be written off yet."

Kevin Bowring, the Wales coach, is hoping to run the rule over Jenkins' match fitness and damaged shoulder in a "physical session" at Cardiff Arms Park behind closed doors on Monday.

All the signs are that if the 24-year-old can come through that session he will take over from Arwel Thomas at outside-half against England.

The Scotland team management reported no injury problems yesterday as they completed two days of intensive preparations for the encounter with France at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The forwards spent much of the Saturday session practising driving and rucking. Yesterday's work-out included line-out practice against the A team. The forwards will have a special session at Murrayfield on Wednesday night when they will practise scrummaging against a scratch pack.

"We did a lot of live scrummaging before the Ireland game and that certainly helped us," said the Scotland manager, Jim Telfer, who believes the French will cause problems in the scrums.

"Against England their scrummaging got stronger as the game wore on. I expect them to be particularly good on their own ball."