Wales have been handed a boost ahead of Sunday’s clash with Samoa thanks to the news that a pair of Lions should available for selection.
Gethin Jenkins and Stephen Jones are expected to be in contention for a spot in the matchday squad after the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed the pair were finally going to return to full training on Tuesday of this week.
Double Lions tourists Jenkins and Jones missed the heartbreaking defeat to South Africa yesterday following lengthy injury setbacks.
Jenkins hasn’t played competitive rugby since January as a result of toe and calf problems, while Jones, who like Jenkins was a Test Lion in 2005 and 2009, has been unavailable since early August.
Fly-half Jones pulled up with a calf injury in the pre-match practice for the World Cup warm-up against England at Twickenham and has since seen James Hook and Rhys Priestland start in the No10 shirt in the four games that have followed.
Jenkins missed the entire RBS 6 Nations campaign and his place in the World Cup squad appeared in doubt given the fact that he was always likely to be unavailable for the clash with South Africa and would then be in a rush to gain match fitness after nearly nine months out.
"Both Stephen and Gethin will be fully integrated into the training programme this week and, if they come through the periods of high intensity training, we would expect to make them both available to the selectors ahead of this weekend's game," said the Welsh Rugby Union’s national medical performance manager Prav Mathema.
There was less encouraging news for veteran back row Ryan Jones, however, after it emerged that the 2005 Lion was targeting a return to action for the final pool game against Fiji in three weeks’ time.
Having missed the one-point reverse to the Boks, a calf injury is set to rule the former skipper out of the ties with Samoa and Namibia, although the Welsh management are keen to keep in him in New Zealand rather than replace him the squad.
Ryan will continue his rehabilitation with us and is still looking at a return to play time of around two to three weeks," added Mathema.
"The fact that we have been able to report no new significant injury concerns to the coaches from the weekend's game means that the decision to allow him to stay and work at getting back to fitness in time for that Fiji match can still stand."