Jones under wraps in Rome
March 6, 2007
In an age where visual awareness coaches, psycho-physiologists and the latest kit technologies are all employed to maximise a player's performance, Wales winger Mark Jones has turned to the DIY cupboard.
Jones, who suffered bruised ribs in the defeat to France two weekends ago, will face Italy in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with bubble-wrap strapped to his side.
Jones had initially feared he might not be fit for the trip to Rome after suffering a few sleepless nights dealing with the pain.
But, helped by the unconventional padding designed by team physio Mark Davies, Jones has come through training well and is ready to get stuck into the Azzurri.
Jones said: ``It was initially a big worry for me that I might miss this game. I had a really uncomfortable couple of days and if the game had been last weekend I wouldn't have played.
``But the extra week has allowed me to recuperate and get a bit of physio in and the ribs are feeling a lot better.
``I came through contact training well. I have been wearing one of Mark Davies' home-made bubble-wrap pads. It's an interesting device to say the least and it's keeping the pressure off the ribs.
``It is strapped on and makes me look slightly one-sided in training!
``Mark is a dab hand at thing like that. And the ironic thing is that I also wore bubble wrap against Italy last year in the Six Nations because I had a rib problem.''
Jones insists it is quite legal to be strapped up like a parcel on the field of play.
The Azzurri defenders will not be expecting their powerful tackles to be greeted by the unfamiliar sound of snap, crackle and pop.
Jones laughed: ``I challenge you to find anything in the IRB manual which says you can't wear popping bubble wrap!''
"If England flounder in the next World Cup the knives will be out - six-year contract or not." Tom Hamilton on the new contract for the England coaches
With the deadline for World Cup ticket applications now over, Tom May outlines his hopes, gripes and wishes for next year's global gathering
Floundering Leicester, exquisite Exeter and two old England players tearing up trees - it's the Monday Maul
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship and all the domestic action from the northern hemisphere