Rugby Union: Scarlets put Evans on target for tour

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Fran Cotton and the rest of the Lions management team will not know whether to celebrate or squirm tonight as Ieuan Evans, the record-breaking Welsh wing, drags his battered body into the public arena following the latest in an apparently endless line of injury setbacks. If past experience is anything to go by, Cotton should consider bribing the rest of the Llanelli backs to keep the ball as far away as possible from their popular skipper.

A shortlisted candidate for the Lions captaincy, Evans has played only twice since twanging a hamstring during his country's Five Nations defeat in Paris. Calf muscle problems have complicated his preparations for the summer set-to in South Africa and there are still lingering fears over the state of his fragile shoulders.

He has, however, successfully completed a rigorous off-pitch recovery schedule and now feels the need for some meaningful action, hence his presence in the Scarlets' side at Newbridge this evening.

Cotton and company will receive fitness bulletins from a number of other injured tourists today, including Neil Jenkins of Pontypridd. The Welsh full-back has made such a rapid recovery from the fractured arm he sustained during last month's championship game with England that he was planning to attend a coaching clinic organised by Dave Alred, the Lions' kicking technician, at Northampton this morning. So too was Gregor Townsend, the Scottish centre who completed only 25 minutes of the Saints' match with Wasps at the weekend.

One marksman whose future remains in the balance is Jon Callard, the Bath full-back. Newport have failed to lure one of their favourite old boys back to Rodney Parade because of a six-figure asking price. Ambitious Worcester are also in the hunt, having offered Callard a lucrative contract as player-coach.