WALES TEAM v FRANCE - HOOK FOR PRIESTLAND
Wales have made one change to the starting line-up which triumphed over Ireland last weekend for the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final clash with France at Eden Park on Saturday (Kick-off 9pm).
Perpignan-bound James Hook replaces Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland.
Priestland injured his shoulder during Wales’ impressive 22-10 quarter-final victory over the Irish in Wellington last Saturday. He was not considered for selection this week and will now continue his rehabilitation over the next few days with a view to returning next 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.