Pair set to ease Welsh injury burden

Ryan Jones and Jamie Roberts remain on course to hand injury-rocked Wales a double fitness boost for Friday night's testing Millennium Stadium clash against Samoa.

The reigning RBS 6 Nations champions lost two more forwards from their autumn games - lock Alun-Wyn Jones (shoulder) and flanker Josh Turnbull (knee ligaments) - after prop Adam Jones and back-row star Dan Lydiate were sidelined last month.

Centre Jonathan Davies' ongoing battle with groin trouble, meanwhile, means he is still unable to train fully with the Wales squad. But former Wales captain Ryan Jones and centre Roberts, who have 112 caps between them, could both make the starting line-up when it is announced on Wednesday lunchtime.

And that would be music to interim head coach Rob Howley's ears as Wales target a first victory since they beat the Barbarians more than five months ago.

"I hope to play against Samoa, fingers crossed, but I have to go through the protocols," said Roberts, who was concussed following a clash of heads with Argentina's Gonzalo Tiesi midway through the first half of last Saturday's 26-12 defeat gainst the Pumas.

"I did not suffer any memory loss and the medics have taken good care of me. I tackle pretty upright, and it was probably my fault because it was pretty poor tackle technique. His (Tiesi's) head caught me right on the sweet spot on the jaw. I was knocked out before I hit the floor."

Roberts, who is training to be a doctor, added: "I was a little bit too disorientated to go back on and play. The medics felt I was not quite right. But after the game I perked up and felt okay. This week is just about going through a strict protocol where you are tested rigorously."

Jones, meanwhile, returned home early from Wales pre-autumn Tests training camp in Poland earlier this month to have a shoulder problem investigated. But after missing the Argentina encounter he was due to train fully, along with Ospreys centre Ashley Beck, who has been troubled by a hip problem.

"It made sense to come home early from Poland and have it investigated," Jones said. "By pushing it back another five days when the squad was due to come home, it would probably have ruled me out of the game this week. In this day and age you are almost fortunate to finish a game without a bump or a bang. It only takes one bang as well.

"Jamie's was pretty innocuous. It was a one-on-one which became a clash of heads, and Alun-Wyn was another one - he has had a bump and has fallen awkwardly. That's the nature of it now."