Evans hands Wales fitness boost
December 28, 2012
Ian Evans could be fit for Wales' Six Nations opener against Ireland on February 2 © PA Photos
Ospreys lock Ian Evans is set to be fit for the 2013 Six Nations and could play for the Welsh region in the final two matches of the Heineken Cup pool stages.
Evans has been struggling with a knee problem and was forced to undergo surgery earlier in December. He missed Wales' final two matches of their autumn series, against New Zealand and Australia, and was said to be facing a lengthy spell out around the eight week mark.
But Evans' recovery is ahead of schedule and Ospreys coach Steve Tandy has pencilled in the 25-cap lock for some Heineken Cup action and he could face the Tigers on January 13. "Ian is recovering well," Tandy told Wales Online. "We will review him at the end of the week but he has been coming through pretty well.
"Hopefully we will have him around during the end of the Heineken Cup group campaign. So Ian will be an outside possibility to be in contention for the Leicester match. He is up and around and is moving pretty well, so it is something we will review after the Dragons and Zebre matches.
The news will come as a timely boost for Wales' interim coach Rob Howley as fellow second-row Luke Charteris has been ruled out for the rest of the season with ligament damage to his right knee.
And in related news, Evans' Ospreys team-mate James King has penned a new three-year deal with the Welsh region. He has made 48 appearances for the Ospreys and he is delighted to have committed his future to the Liberty Stadium side.
"I've been here since 2008 and it's gone well for me," King said. "This is my region and I've very happy to stay here. Last season I was fortunate enough to get involved a lot more and get more game time. I got to play in the final, which was really great. I'm still developing as a player though and this is the place for me to do that.
"The Ospreys have a great record for providing players to Wales, especially forwards. With so many being away there will always be younger guys coming into the squad, that's where I got my chance originally. I want to be playing week-in, week-out for the Ospreys. Ideally I'd like to be able to force my way into play regularly in the back-row but if that's not possible, and if the team need it, I'm happy playing in the second row. Just to be out there in the Ospreys shirt is the most important bit."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year
With just two rounds left in the 2014 championship, the intensity cranks up a notch at Twickenham. Tom Hamilton previews the weekend's action
"I had a perfect record against England as did a few other Welshmen. England always seemed to bring the best out of us." John Taylor on the age-old rivalry
Are the margins between the teams in the Six Nations getting smaller year-on-year? Huw Richards gives some answers