Justin Tipuric is healing well after shoulder surgery
Wales and British & Irish Lions flanker Justin Tipuric is 'progressing nicely' following his post-season shoulder surgery and is among a host of Ospreys players gearing up for a return in the new season.
The back row dynamo, who is 25 next month, missed the summer tour to South Africa as a result of his injury, but hopes to be back in full working order for the Autumn Tests against South African New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.
The Ospreys' medical performance manager, Chris Towers, has issued an update on a number of injured players as the most successful of the Welsh regions continues to build towards the 2014/15 campaign.
"Justin is progressing nicely following shoulder surgery. The key for him now is a good period of physical preparation to allow him to hit his key targets over the next eight weeks ahead of his return to playing," said Towers.
Fellow international forward, James King, was another summer tour absentee following ankle surgery. But Towers believes he could be in contention to start the new GuinnessPRO12 season.
"James had surgery on his ankle nine weeks ago and is back running. He will be integrated with the squad over the next two to three weeks in order to be available for the start of the PRO12 season," added Towers.
Wales scrum half Rhys Webb, wing Eli Walker and Moldovan prop Dmitri Arhip have all started pre-season with the rest of the squad and are now fully integrated into the group, taking a full part in training, while former Wales Under 20 lock Lloyd Peers has been integrated back into team rugby sessions following his recovery from a shoulder injury. He will be available for the pre-season games next month."
Wales centre Ashley Beck's recurring hip problem was operated on eight weeks ago and he is recovering well. The original prediction was for a six month recovery period.
Meanwhile, back row man Tom Smith is still in an intensive rehab programme, but is making good progress. He still has a lot of work ahead before the medical team can predict a comeback date for him.
Robin McBryde and son Billy are set to represent Wales on either side of the globe over the coming weeks with Robin travelling to New Zealand as Wales assistant coach and Billy competing at the World Rugby U20 Championship (Manchester, June 7-25). WRU TV caught up with the pair and captured a unique perspective into the factors that produce such a high-achieving rugby family.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
Forwards coach Robyn McBryde says tomorrow's RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy gives Wales an opportunity to finish second in the tournament after having the wind knocked from their sails last week against England.
Nigel Owens will take charge of his 71st Test match this weekend and Welsh Rugby Union head of referees Nigel Whitehouse has taken the opportunity to hail the achievements of world rugby's most experienced man-in-the-middle.