Gatland keeps faith with Wales XV
September 16, 2011
Wales will be out to exorcise the demons of their defeat to South Africa last time out © Getty Images
Wales coach Warren Gatland has named an unchanged team for Sunday's World Cup clash with Samoa in Hamilton.
Gatland has predictably retained the side that pushed world champions South Africa to the brink of defeat in Wellington last weekend. But one switch on the replacements' bench sees a potential return to action for Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins, who takes over from Ryan Bevington.
British and Irish Lions Test loose-head Jenkins has not played for Wales since they faced New Zealand in Cardiff 10 months ago. A calf muscle injury has sidelined him throughout this year, but Gatland opted to select him in his 30-man World Cup squad given Jenkins' proven pedigree and vast experience of 76 caps.
The 30-year-old has trained with the squad this week and his presence considerably enhances Wales' front-row options as they approach pivotal Pool D appointments with Samoa, Namibia and Fiji.
The 17-16 loss to the Springboks means Wales are now in a knockout situation, knowing another defeat would effectively rule them out of quarter-final contention. But Gatland will hope Wales can reproduce the quality of their display against South Africa, when big-name players like Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips and skipper Sam Warburton all delivered world-class performances.
Samoa, meanwhile, opened their World Cup campaign with a 49-12 success against Namibia two days ago. They have played Wales twice in previous World Cups, beating them 16-13 in 1991 and 38-31 eight years later.
Wales: J Hook (Perpignan); G North (Scarlets), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James (Ospreys), H Bennett (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A Powell (Sale Sharks), T Knoyle (Scarlets), S Williams (Scarlets), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould