HE may be recovering from ankle surgery, but Bristol back-rower Ryan Jones is refusing to rule out a return to international rugby with Wales, despite dropping down into the Greene King IPA Championship this season.
The 33-year-old inspired Bristol to semi-final success over Rotherham on his debut in May but in his second appearance for the club – the first leg of the play-off final against London Welsh – he was stretchered off.
Jones is expected to return to a Bristol shirt in November; which will rule him out of Wales’ autumn internationals, but, with a World Cup on the horizon in 2015, the No.8 is refusing to wave the white flag just yet.
Capped 75 times by his country, with a record 33 as captain, Jones has won three Grand Slams and featured for the British and Irish Lions in 2005.
“I'd love to pull on the Wales shirt again,” he said. “The reality is that I may never do it again, but [the coaches] have got my phone number and they know where I am.
“If I'm fit and playing well and they need me, they can give me a ring. My form and fitness are the only things I can control in this situation. The rest is out of my hands.”
When the Greene King IPA Championship kicks-off this weekend; Jones will be no more than a spectator as he continues his rehabilitation.
Bristol have a host of star names at their disposal this season, including Welsh internationals Matthew Morgan, Ian Evans and Dwayne Peel, meaning Jones will not be the only player at the club with one eye on the World Cup next year.
Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit www.rfu.com/championship