Wales make one change for semi-final
October 13, 2011
James Hook will step into the fly-half role © Getty Images
Wales have made just one change to their squad for the World Cup semi-final against France with James Hook set to move into the fly-half role for the injured Rhys Priestland.
After being left out of the squad for the quarter-final, Hook will move into the starting No. 10 spot after Priestland suffered a shoulder knock during Wales' triumph over Ireland last Saturday. However, the 24-year-old will be in contention for the decider should Wales overcome France at Eden Park this week.
On the bench, 102-times capped Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones comes in for the promoted Hook, who himself brings 57 caps worth of experience to side.
"Time was against Rhys, but we are happy that we have the talent and ability elsewhere in the squad to cover him," said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
"Rhys has done everything we have asked of him and more during this World Cup, but, when we have players of the calibre and experience of James Hook and Stephen Jones coming into the squad and starting line-up, there is no sense that Rhys's absence leaves us any weaker.
"We know that the people in Wales and the fans that have travelled here are excited about reaching the semi-finals of the world cup and we are too, but beating France on Saturday must be and will be our sole focus.
"The time to reflect and to celebrate will come if we win our next two matches, until that happens our focus on the task ahead must be absolute."
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, James Hook, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (C), Toby Faletau
Replacements: Lloyd Burns, Paul James, Bradley Davies, Ryan Jones, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Scott Williams.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch