'We're not the finished article - if we think we are, that's where we'll fall flat'
LIKE many Wales supporters, Ryan Jones returned from this year's Scottish trip feeling worse for wear, only in his case the hangover has lasted six months.
That's how long the back-row forward spent on the sidelines after damaging his shoulder in the national team's victory at Murrayfield in March.
He did start back for the Ospreys at Treviso 13 days ago but lasted barely a half before hurting a shoulder yet again.
Fortunately, the bump wasn't serious and Jones is hoping to be cleared for yet another comeback when Edinburgh visit Swansea in the Pro12 on Saturday night.
"Fingers crossed I'll get the nod from the medical team," he said.
"If I'm selected, it'll be great to get back out there in front of our home crowd at the Liberty Stadium.
"It's a fantastic venue and our supporters have shown time after time that they can create a wonderful atmosphere."
Jones could do with a run of good luck.
Injury and Wales calls restricted him to just nine starts for the Ospreys last season, and he didn't play for the region after the Heineken Cup date against Leicester in January.
It was typical of his misfortune to pick up a knock in his comeback game, but this time the damage was slight and he came close to facing Leinster in Dublin last Saturday.
"I was disappointed not to be involved in Dublin," said Jones.
"The RDS is a great place to play and we've enjoyed a good record there in recent seasons. It's one of the PRO12's great rivalries, and last weekend was another classic encounter between the teams.
"We're all looking forward to being back at home this weekend. It's week three and it's our first game at home. There's a huge appetite for it and the players, just as much as the fans, are looking forward to getting some game- time at the Liberty."
The Ospreys will be pleased to see Jones back, for he supplies them not just with invaluable quality but also with priceless experience.
Over his ten seasons with the region he has pretty much seen it all: the highs and the lows, the joy and despair.
Title-clinching glory at The Gnoll, in Gala and in Dublin, twice, sits alongside Watford in 2008, Coventry in 2009 and San Sebastian in 2010, scenes of knockout defeats that hurt the Ospreys deeply.
There have also been the injuries that have punctuated everything. But he has kept going and brings a wise counsel to proceedings at the Liberty.
Not for him believing the Ospreys have suddenly cracked it after a win in Italy and a draw in Dublin.
"The challenge we face as a squad now is to continue striving to improve," he said.
"We aren't the finished article based on two games. If we think we are, that's where we'll fall flat.
"We have to keep working hard.
"But we have been able to put in a fair bit of work this summer for the battles ahead. We've seen a few boys returning from injury and we've been bolstered by new faces coming in and players stepping up from age-grade. We're in a good place."
The Ospreys' unbeaten start means no-one can take their place for granted, according to Jones.
"It's hugely competitive here," he said.
"We have huge strength in the back five and it's an achievement just to get a game for the Ospreys.
"Look who's been involved over the first few weeks: old heads like Joe Bearman have been excellent, while it's been great to have Tom Smith back after a year out with injury. He's been like a new signing. And, of course, we have youngsters like James King and Sam Lewis, who've been nothing short of exceptional.
"It's incredibly satisfying as someone who has been here a long time and cares passionately about this region to see players like that coming through, even if it makes life difficult for me.
"I'm still as competitive as I've ever been. I still have huge aspirations for this region to be successful and be a team that no- one likes to play against, domestically and in Europe. We are striving to be the best that we can be as a group."
For the Ospreys, it will be good to have Jones back in business.