WALES captain Ryan Jones will miss Saturday’s Six Nations championship finale against England at the Millennium stadium after breaking a shoulder bone during last weekend’s win over Scotland.
Loose forward Jones underwent a scan on Monday after leaving the field in obvious pain during the match at Murrayfield on Saturday, and his arm was in a sling as the team boarded their flight from Edinburgh.
“Ryan is not going to be available,” Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde said.
“He has broken a bone in his shoulder. It looks as though he will be out for six to eight weeks.”
Jones confirmed the bad news on his Twitter feed. “So, so disappointed not to be involved Saturday but thanks for all your messages,” he said.
Wales, last year’s grand slam champions, will retain the title if they win by at least eight points, or seven so long as England do not outscore them by three tries.
Sam Warburton, captain of the grand slam side, is the obvious candidate to take over from Jones after winning the man-of-the-match award against Scotland. British and Irish Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones, who has returned to the side after injury, is another possibility.
McBryde said a decision about the captaincy would be made tomorrow.
Wales could select two specialist opensides with Justin Tipuric partnering Warburton. Tipuric started against Italy ahead of Warburton and took over from Jones at blindside flanker against Scotland. “Sam and Justin worked very well together in Scotland,” said Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards. “Sam got a couple of turnovers after Tips had done the chop tackle beforehand. They worked in combination and that is what you need your back row to do.”
McBryde said Aaron Shingler or Andrew Coombes were other options on the blindside. Lions loosehead prop Gethin Jenkins, who missed the trip to Edinburgh with a calf strain, will contest the starting position with Paul James.
England, meanwhile, confirmed that lock Joe Launchbury did not train yesterday but assistant coach Andy Farrell said his elbow injury “ain’t as bad as we first feared”.
Farrell said yesterday he believes England have the character to clinch the Grand Slam in Cardiff on Saturday. “When we have had a challenge thrown at us we have responded,” he said.
“It is the ultimate test to go there and win but it is where we want to be. We don’t mind a bit of adversity. It is where we have been good in our short time together. Experience has to start somewhere and we have to be challenging to win our first trophy.”