Luckless Arhip out for 6 months
THE Ospreys may summon Adam Jones for their testing trip to Treviso after Dimitri Arhip was taken out of Steve Tandy's plans for up to six months.
Luckless Moldovan Arhip ruptured an Achilles tendon while making his first full appearance for the region, against Bath at The Recreation Ground last Friday.
The former Pro12 champions' problems are compounded by Aaron Jarvis not yet being ready to return from the knee injury he sustained while playing for Wales against New Zealand last November.
They do have Joe Rees for the game in Italy on Saturday evening, but he is himself still getting up to speed after a lengthy time on the sidelines.
Youngsters Dan Suter and Nicky Thomas are also on hand and are regarded as outstanding prospects, but the strong-scrummaging Treviso pack would undoubtedly look to exploit either player's inexperience.
It could all mean an earlier-than-expected return for Jones after his exertions with the Lions.
Head coach Tandy said: "Adam may be involved, potentially.
"We have plenty of options. Daniel Suter is an option, Adam is an option, Joe Rees is an option and so is Nicky Thomas, the under-20s' tight-head."
Jones is that rare beast, a player who can transform a side's prospects just by being involved, so it would be some boost for the Ospreys if he were to feature at some point against Treviso.
But Arhip faces a long haul back, possibly stretching all the way through to next February or March.
It's especially cruel luck for the popular tight-head, who had stepped up for his full debut after nine previous outings as a replacement.
Tandy said: "Dimitri has ruptured his Achilles and is probably looking at four to six months out.
"It's extremely disappointing.
"Bath may have had the edge on us up front in the scrums, but it was Dimitri's first start and with the work he did around the park, putting in some really physical tackles, I feel there's a bright future for him. As for Aaron Jarvis, he isn't too far away.
"We'd have liked him back for Bath, but he kept having tiny setbacks around his knee. He's started to do a few units with us, so hopefully he won't be longer than two to three weeks away. In the meantime, we have Adam, Joe Rees and a couple of under-20s props."
The Ospreys could include Jones on the bench, along with fellow Lions Ian Evans and Richard Hibbard, both of whom featured as subs against Bath.
"Hibbs is champing at the bit," said Tandy. We feel it's part of his conditioning to get back into it, while Ian was really keen himself. They are conditioning throughout the week and playing is part of the programme. It's great that these guys want to come back for us. They're Lions and they love representing the region.
"Hopefully, by the third game of the season, all our Lions will have featured for us in some shape or form."