Rugby World Cup 2011: Stephen Jones beats 'frustrating' injury

Stephen Jones
Stephen Jones made his Wales debut as they lost 96-13 against South Africa in 1998

Fly-half Stephen Jones hopes to end seven weeks of frustration to win a record 101st Wales cap in the World Cup against Namibia on Monday.

A calf strain forced the Scarlet out of Wales' 6 August 23-19 defeat by England at Twickenham ahead of kick-off.

Almost two weeks later the injury flared up again and he has since missed Wales' tournament clashes against South Africa and Samoa.

"It has been quite tough," said the 2005 and 2009 British and Irish Lion.

"Just purely from not having really been involved with the team that much.

"But the last couple of weeks have been great being integrated back with the squad and to take part in the normal schedule.

"It [the injury] was frustrating. For it to happen just five minutes before the England game was a blow.

"And having thought I had recovered and completed a week's training prior to the Argentina game, literally with the last ball I kicked in the captain's run on the Friday, to re-tear the calf was another blow.

"But the medical staff were brilliant regarding the rehab programme.

"They just made sure they ticked every box, and the process was as thorough as could be to make sure I was right."

Jones will overtake former team-mate and captain Gareth Thomas' mark and leave another erstwhile colleague, Martyn Williams two appearances behind on 99.

But for Jones, a telling win against Nambia's mix of a smattering of professionals and mostly amateurs would be the biggest reason to celebrate.

In his absence, fellow Scarlet Rhys Priestland has staked his claim to be Wales' first-choice 10.

"It is a World Cup, and it's exciting times as a player," added Jones.

"Whatever your age, it's the best, and you want to be a part of it.

"We've made a good start. It was frustrating to not get a win in the first game [against South Africa].

"But we are in a good place and what is important is that we keep our momentum building.

"There is a good vibe in the squad. Everyone has worked hard and put a lot of effort in and hopefully we will get the reward.

"It has been intense, and when you work hard, you want reward.

"We got the reward against Samoa, and it is about making sure that continues for the next games.

"I am looking forward to the day and looking forward to playing some rugby. I am excited by that."