Alun Wyn Jones to return to Wales squad for final Six Nations game against Italy following injury

  • Wales Coach Wayne Pivac confirms Alun Wyn Jones available for selection against Italy

Alun Wyn Jones will return to the Wales squad for their final match of this Six Nations tournament on Saturday 19, against Italy.

Jones, rugby's most capped player with 161 appearances for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, suffered a shoulder injury in October and has undergone two surgeries since.

Initial predictions were that he would miss the entire Six Nations but Wales Coach Wayne Pivac said Jones had worked "very, very hard" and would be available for selection next weekend.

It is the second speedy recovery in the space of a year for the 36-year-old, who came back quickly from another shoulder injury to return to the British and Irish Lions tour against South Africa in 2021.

Scrum-half Kieran Hardy said bring Alun Wyn back in would be a "massive boost" to the team.

He added: "With his experience, his leadership, he is a real special player to have back in the squad, and it will give us an extra couple of per cent next week.

"I am sure he will be ready to go, and we've got to be ready to match him and go with him."

Whether Jones features and wins his 150th Wales cap remains to be seen, although Pivac looks likely to make changes.

Wales have only won one of their Six Nations matches so far, with a defeat to France, who remain unbeaten, on Friday night. The Welsh-side lost 13-9 to Les Bleus and it was the first time for 13 years that Wales failed to score a Six Nations try at home.

"We will dust ourselves off, come in on Monday and roll our sleeves up," said Hardy, who was an early replacement for Tomos Williams after he suffered a head injury.

"We know how good we can be, and I think next week (at home against Italy) is a real test for us to show our attacking strengths, try and score four tries and finish with a dominant performance.

"There is frustration, knowing that we probably did enough to win the game without actually winning it. We probably left a few chances out there."

France had to withstand some Welsh pressure in the final 10 minutes but held on for a hard-fought 13-9 victory. Credit: PA Images

Reflecting on the loss and the possibility of changes to the line-up for the game against Italy, Pivac said: "We will have a good look at how the boys have come through. It was a very physical Test match.

"There were a few boys sore in the changing room, so we will see how we scrub up. It has been a big seven weeks.

"We felt we did enough to win the game, but it wasn't to be. Certainly, a massive step in the right direction.

"Everything the boys worked on in the last two weeks, we did pretty much everything we wanted to do out there other than winning the game."

The Wales v Italy game kicks off at 2:15pm on Saturday 19.