Prop Jones adds to Wales injury woe

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Wales have suffered another major pre-World Cup injury blow with prop Rhodri Jones set to miss the tournament.

The Welsh Rugby Union announced that the Scarlets tighthead, who has been released from Wales’ World Cup training squad, requires surgery to repair a ruptured pectoral muscle, and faces an absence of 12 to 16 weeks.

Centre Jonathan Davies has already been sidelined from the World Cup due to injury, while Wales’ first-choice tighthead Samson Lee is currently recovering from a serious Achilles problem suffered during last season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship. Scott Andrews has been called into the training squad in Jones’ absence.

Full-back and wing Liam Williams, meanwhile, is continuing his recovery from foot surgery as Wales build towards September’s World Cup kick-off.

While a fully-fit Lee is an automatic choice in the Wales starting XV, 23-year-old Jones provides essential bench back-up, making him an integral squad member and a player that head coach Warren Gatland would undoubtedly have turned to during the World Cup.

And it is a second major injury setback for the 13 times-capped Scarlets forward this year. He took no part in the 2015 Six Nations after suffering a dislocated shoulder a month before the tournament started.

For his part, Cardiff Blues forward Andrews has won 11 caps and will travel with the Wales squad this weekend to Doha in Qatar for their next pre-tournament training camp.

Wales have just returned from two weeks’ intense training in Switzerland, and Gatland said: “It is hugely disappointing for Rhodri, who was working extremely hard out in Switzerland.

“We wish him all the best with his recovery from the injury.

“It is a great opportunity for Scott to come into the squad and show us what he is capable of.

“In terms of the tighthead position, Samson has continued to make excellent progress, and we have been very impressed with both Aaron Jarvis and Tomas Francis during the first batch of training.”

Gatland is set to name his final World Cup squad on August 31, with Wales facing an opening game against Uruguay in Cardiff 20 days later.