Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales play-off worry over prop Adam Jones

Adam Jones on crutches
Adam Jones was on crutches after Wales' defeat by France

Injured prop Adam Jones is set to miss Wales' third-place World Cup play-off against Australia in Auckland.

Jones limped off in the 9-8 semi-final defeat by France on Saturday with a calf injury.

Assistant coach Shaun Edwards said: "He did look like he'd torn his calf - he won't be playing Friday, I would be very surprised if he plays Friday.

"I think Gats [Wales coach Warren Gatland] would want to play [Craig] Mitchell anyway - he's a great kid."

If Jones is out, instead of calling up a prop, Wales could seek cover for banned open-side flanker Sam Warburton.

Warburton is serving a three-week ban after being sent off for 'tip-tackling' Vincent Clerc.

Another Osprey, highly rated open-side propspect Justin Tipuric, would be a strong candiate for a call-up.

But the Welsh region's early season captain is awaiting a disciplinary hearing after being cited for his own 'tip tackle' - for which he was sin-binned in their 17-13 Pro12 win over Munster on Sunday, 8 October.

The hearing takes place on Tuesday in Edinburgh and even if Tipuric is not banned, Wales and the player would be short of time to reach New Zealand for Friday's game.

Coach Warren Gatland could press blind-side Dan Lydiate into service at open-side, with Ryan Jones or Andy Powell starting at six, or even switch Toby Faletau from number eight to contend with outstanding Wallaby open-side David Pocock.

Ahead of the tournament Gatland opted not to take specialist back-up for Warburton, leaving Tipuric and 99-cap veteran Martyn Williams behind after they took part in Wales' pre-tournament preparations.

Tipuric, 22, made his Wales debut by replacing Williams in Wales' final tournament warm-up game when they beat Argentina 28-13.

Williams's chances of a call-up were deemed to have ended when he broke an arm on 16 September in Cardiff Blues' 20-3 Pro12 defeat by Ulster.

He was initially ruled out for six weeks and Friday, 21 October falls a week short of that deadline.

Williams, 36, is already in New Zealand working as a television pundit.

Osprey Paul James took over from Adam Jones against France but Exeter-bound ex-Osprey Mitchell is the specialist tight-head prop back-up.

In Warburton's absence, Gatland must also choose a captain to lead Wales into their final tournament game.

Prop Gethin Jenkins took over that role when his fellow Cardiff Blue was sent off against France.


Forwards: (16)

Props: Ryan Bevington, Adam Jones, Paul James (all Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Exeter), Hookers: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Ken Owens (Scarlets). Locks: Luke Charteris (Dragons), Bradley Davies (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys). Back-rows: Toby Faletau (Dragons), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Danny Lydiate (Dragons), Andy Powell (Sale Sharks), Sam Warburton (Blues, capt).

Backs: (14)

Full-backs/wings: Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), Aled Brew (Dragons), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), George North (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys). Centres: Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues),Scott Williams (Scarlets). Fly-halves: James Hook (Perpignan), Stephen Jones, Rhys Priestland (both Scarlets), Scrum-halves: Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Michael Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Blues).