Wales have been hit another injury blow following their arrival in New Zealand two days ago with a fresh question mark hanging over the fitness of Dafydd Jones.
The Llanelli flanker has aggravated an injury to his sternum, suffered in training last week, and is now a doubt for the first Test against the Wallabies in Sydney next Saturday.
It is a major blow for the 23-year-old Scarlet who is desperate to make up for lost time having missed the last six weeks of the season through suspension.
But Jones insists he has not given up hope of making one, if not still both, of the Tests on the tour.
'I picked up the injury when a maul collapsed during training at Sophia Gardens and I found myself at the bottom of it,' said Jones, from the squad's Auckland base.
'I thought it had settled down over the last week or so and didn't give me any trouble on the long flight, but then I sprung it again in training yesterday.
'It's a difficult injury to treat and causes problems elsewhere in your upper body, like in your shoulder, but I'm working hard and the physios are keeping a close eye on the situation.
'I certainly haven't given up hope of playing against Australia at all and we will wait and see how things are early next week - but the timing of it is very frustrating.'
The latest injury is another blow to Steve Hansen's preparations for the clash at the Telstra Stadium - formerly the Olympic Stadium - in Sydney in seven days' time.
Hansen has already been forced to leave Iestyn Harris and Gareth Delve, both struck down with shoulder injuries during the game against the Barbarians, Bridgend prop Gareth Williams (hamstring) and Gwent-bound Michael Owen (knee) all at home as well as top try scorer Gareth Thomas for personal reasons. Sonny Parker is also expected to sit out the Wallabies clash as he continues his recovery from his fractured arm.
'There have been a few injuries but the boys do feel good and have already run off the effects of the long flight in training,' said Jones. 'The facilities where we are staying are excellent and everyone is settling in before what is going to be a very tough couple of weeks.
'Things obviously didn't get off to a good start with missing the flight after the discussions over pay but now that it is settled everyone is looking to get on and concentrate on the rugby.'
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