Jones poised to make Ospreys comeback
THE Ospreys hope to be bolstered by the return of Ryan Jones for the friendly with Bath at The Rec on Friday evening.
Steve Tandy’s side started their pre-season programme with a 23-19 victory over a physical Worcester Warriors outfit at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, with a last-minute try from Ross Jones securing the spoils.
And they could be poised for a 76-cap injection of experience if Ryan Jones comes through training without any problems over the next few days.
The Wales and Lions forward hasn’t played since damaging a shoulder in the Six Nations encounter with Scotland on March 9. He is currently sidelined by a calf injury picked up while preparing for the new season.
But he worked hard to recover from the injury and there is a chance he could play a part against Bath.
The region’s forwards coach Chris Gibbes said: “Hopefully, we’ll get Ryan back on the park this week.
“We’ll see how he gets through training.”
It will be a huge boost for the Ospreys if they can get Jones back into action before the start of the new season, for he offers the kind of presence that would be priceless in the absence of the region’s five Lions, Alun Wyn Jones, Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard, Justin Tipuric and Ian Evans, all of whom are getting back up to speed after their exertions Down Under earlier this summer.
Tandy’s side got the work-out they were looking for against Worcester, with the Warriors shrugging off a dramatic journey down that saw the entire squad evacuated from the team bus after it caught fire on the M5.
Credit the Aviva Premiership club.
Inspired by former Osprey Jonathan Thomas, they put the incident behind them and got stuck into the hosts, matching them try for try.
“It’s a real credit to them as an organisation to front up as they did,” said Gibbes.
“We’re just really stoked that they soldiered on and got to Swansea and played a hell of a game considering what they went through in the morning.
“Credit should be given to those guys. What they did was pretty awesome.”
The Ospreys will assess the match sharpness of their new Fijian signing Aisea Natoga before deciding whether to include him in their squad for the trip to Bath.
They did miss a few tackles behind against Worcester, but all three of their tries were scored by backs, with the final one engineered by a young back line, with Richard Fussell and Dan Biggar having left the field.
“We knew the boys might be blowing and make a few errors first game out, so we are really happy with the effort,” said Gibbes.
“There are some things we need to iron out.
“But there is quite a diverse age range in this group and I thought the young guys who were on the park at the end did a really good job.
“All we wanted from this game was a line in the sand, and we’ve got that. We are just going to keep building.”
Ashley Beck (shoulder) and Dimitri Arhip (leg) both picked up injuries, but neither bump is thought to be serious.