Alun Wyn Jones: Ospreys captain nearing return from injury for Pro12 semi-final
Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones says he is nearing a return from his shoulder injury ahead of their Pro12 semi-final against Munster.
Jones, 31, has not played since picking up the injury in Wales' late defeat by France in the Six Nations in March.
The region finished fourth in the Pro12 table following a final day 40-17 loss to rivals Scarlets on Saturday.
"My shoulder is very good. It's been a frustrating period," Jones told BBC Wales Sport.
He continued: "The first four weeks in particular [have been frustrating] but I'm in a good place now and hopefully, if selected, I can feature in the semi-final."
Without Jones, Ospreys have struggled for form, losing five of their last six games in all competitions but the region still managed to seal a semi-final spot.
"Steve's point was that he was going to protect me from myself and credit to him, he's taken that decision away from me and that's all you can ask for as a player," Jones said.
"The way we've got there [to the semi-final] isn't ideal but form really goes out of the way in knockout rugby and that's where we find ourselves."
A tough tour
Jones was named in the British and Irish Lions squad for their tour of New Zealand this summer and, after featuring in Wales' unsuccessful tour there in the summer of 2016, he knows they face a difficult task ahead of them.
"I think everyone realises the challenge facing the Lions playing against back-to-back world champions and the calibre of player they have and strength in depth not only at Test level but also in the week with their Super Rugby franchises," he added.
"There is a realisation that everyone is competing for a place and has the ability to get in the Test teams. It's not falsified, it's a genuine squad of quality and experience."
After captaining the Lions in the final game of their successful tour of Australia in 2013, Jones says their squad has enough experience to step in for captain Sam Warburton over the 10-game tour.
"Sam's the figurehead and everyone who has a leadership roll and is there to support that and that's very important," he said.
"Rory Best is there, I am there, there's guys that have captained teams who are at European Champions Cup level as well. Ultimately, one guy isn't going to play all ten games because of the schedule.
"First and foremost as a player you've got to captain yourself and then contribute to the team."
An 'exciting time' for Wales
Harlequins' Jamie Roberts will captain Wales for their Summer tour games against Tonga and Samoa in Jones' absence, a move the Ospreys lock welcomes.
"It's great for Jamie, he has 91 caps so with the departures and people available the experience he has is going to be priceless for the squad the they have," he added.
"It's good to see they've got a fresh faced squad with 13 new caps as well. There will be pressure even though people say 'oh it's Tonga and Samoa' but you put the travel in and underestimate them at your peril.
"It's exciting times but I wish Jamie and the uncapped players the best."