Ospreys fear losing prop Duncan Jones for key clash
THE Ospreys expect to make a decision tomorrow on whether Duncan Jones will be able to play in their top-of-the-table Pro12 encounter with Munster at Thomond Park.
The match on Saturday evening brings together the second-placed Ospreys against the league leaders.
But the Welsh club could potentially have a problem at loose-head prop if the vastly experienced Jones fails to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained against the Dragons.
Ryan Bevington is away with Wales, meaning the Ospreys could be deprived of two international loose-heads.
Next cab on the rank is Marc Thomas, who has yet to start a Pro12 encounter, with teenager Nicky Smith below him.
Jones was seeing a specialist yesterday afternoon with the Ospreys declining to definitely rule him out of the encounter in Limerick. "It looks unlikely he will be involved, but it's one of those where if you get the all-clear and the pain heals in the next 24 hours or so, there are possibilities," said assistant coach Gruff Rees.
"We don't know how serious the injury is at this point, so we'll see how he is on Thursday.
"Duncan is a Trojan and he feels, notwithstanding some nerve pain, that he could probably battle through.
"But we need to find out if there is any severity there.
"He is still in a bit of pain and that's why the appointment with the specialist was arranged."
Depending on Warren Gatland's likely selection for Wales against South Africa a week on Saturday, there is a possibility that Bevington could be released back, but the Ospreys are not banking on that.
They hope to be strengthened next month by the return of Hanno Dirksen and Rhys Webb, both of whom were lined up for training yesterday.
"Rhys Webb was scheduled for a double session, so he's moving on nicely, while Hanno will do a session in the afternoon," said Rees.
"His training load will always get compromised now, to manage him long term.
"But we should be seeing both players over the next couple of weeks or so."