x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Wales prop Adam Jones ruled out of Six Nations

Arguably the world's best tight-head prop on form will spend the next eight weeks on the sidelines, according to his club the Ospreys.

The Ospreys prop Adam Jones in action.
The Ospreys prop Adam Jones in action.

Adam Jones, the Ospreys prop, has been confirmed as the latest major injury casualty ahead of Wales' Six Nations Championship campaign.

The British & Irish Lions tight-head is expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks because of an elbow problem.

That means he is set to join his fellow Wales and Lions prop Gethin Jenkins in missing the whole Six Nations tournament, which Wales start against England in Cardiff on February 4.

Jones, who has won 68 caps, was hurt during the Ospreys' Heineken Cup loss to London Irish last weekend.

His injury is the latest in a series of setbacks for Warren Gatland, the Wales coach, who has overseen a run of seven successive Test matches without a win.

Jones, 29, underwent a scan earlier this week, with the Ospreys now in receipt of the medical reports.

Chris Towers, the Ospreys physiotherapist, said: "The scans have confirmed our suspicion of significant ligament damage and soft tissue trauma to the left elbow.

"We've discussed the case at length, both with orthopaedic specialists and the Welsh Rugby Union medical team, and expect that Adam is likely to be out for around eight weeks."

Tom Shanklin and Andrew Bishop, who both play at centre, are both absent from Gatland's plans due to injury, while Richie Rees, the scrum-half who provided bench cover throughout this season's autumn Test series, is banned until late March.

England also have injury troubles though, with three key forwards – Lewis Moody, Tom Croft and Courtney Lawes – out of at least the first half of the Six Nations.

Gatland will name his squad next Sunday or Monday, with Paul James expected to replace Jenkins against England, but ready-made alternatives to Jones are in short supply.

Gatland could consider the merits of an experienced player like Iestyn Thomas, the Scarlets prop, but that would mean James packing down in an unfamiliar tight-head position.

Jones's Ospreys colleague Craig Mitchell is the favourite to take over from him, but Wales have lost arguably the world's best tight-head on current form.

Meanwhile, Andy Robinson, the Scotland coach, has reiterated his commitment to his job despite speculation linking with Bath, the Aviva Premiership side.

Robinson was coach when Bath won the Heineken Cup in 1998, and his stock has risen after guiding Scotland to six successive Test wins.

"There's obviously been some speculation around myself, but I've got a contract to 2012," he said. "There's a long time until that contract's up.

"I'm contracted to Scotland and that's what my focus is on."