Monday 20 November 2017

Wales summon Jones as Thomas has surgery

Wales have called veteran fly-half Stephen Jones into their Six Nations training squad.

The 34-year-old, who has won a record 104 caps for his country, was left out of coach Warren Gatland's original 35-man selection for this week's training camp in Gdansk, Poland.

But with first-choice fly-half Rhys Priestland (knee) struggling to be fit for Wales' opener against Ireland in Dublin on February 5, and Perpignan's James Hook having to return to his club for their Top 14 fixture this weekend, the decision has been taken to call Scarlets playmaker Jones up as training cover.

A Welsh Rugby Union statement said: "Wales have called Stephen Jones out to their Six Nations training camp in Poland. Jones provides extra training cover in the fly-half position and is available for full training."

Hook is likely to be handed the starting role should Priestland fail to prove his fitness for the Aviva Stadium clash, which would potentially leave Jones in line for a spot among the replacements.

Gavin Henson is the other outside-half option in Gatland's squad, but he has not featured at number 10 in his three appearances to date for the Cardiff Blues.

Wales will be without prop Gethin Jenkins for part of the Six Nations after he was ruled out for five weeks with a knee injury, while centre Jamie Roberts (knee) and flanker Dan Lydiate (ankle) are also doubts for the Ireland fixture.

Meanwhile, Scarlets prop Rhys Thomas has undergone heart surgery after being taken ill in training, the Welsh region have confirmed.

Thomas, who has seven Wales caps, was treated by club medics before being transported by ambulance to a hospital in Swansea yesterday morning.

The 29-year-old has undergone "successful surgery" and is now in a "comfortable condition" but he will remain in hospital during his recovery.


Scarlets chief executive Mark Davies said: "All our thoughts and best wishes as Scarlets are with Rhys, his wife Paula and their family, and the region will be keeping in close contact with medical teams at (Swansea's) Morriston Hospital as to his progress but it is understood that he is comfortable and doing well.

"I am sure the whole rugby community in Wales would join with us in expressing to Rhys all our very best wishes for a quick and comfortable recovery."

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