On the back of their 16-6 victory in Paris, Wales coach Rob Howley received the news today that second-row Alun-Wyn Jones has returned to the squad ahead of next week’s clash with Italy. Jones, who had been out due to a shoulder injury suffered in the autumn defeat to Argentina, made his return to action for the Ospreys as a substitute in their RaboDirect Pro12 win against Ulster on Friday night.
With fellow lock’s Bradley Davies and Luke Charteris still ruled out with injuries, Jones’ return is a timely boost, bringing experience to an engine-room lacking in international games– the 2009 Lions tourist amassing 67 caps for the Welsh. With other options Lou Reed, James King and Olly Kohn collectively making four test appearances, the addition of the Grand Slam winner will boost Wales’ quest to defend their championship should England slip up in their remaining matches.
Jones’ return doesn’t mean he will immediately return to the starting line-up though, after both Andrew Coombs and Ian Evans both impressed in the win other Les Blues on Saturday. Wales travel to Rome next Saturday before facing Scotland at Murrayfield, and should they win the two matches, a potential title decider will take place in Cardiff with the English.