Hook returns for Wales

October 13, 2011
Rugby Union - International Rugby - Bet Now at Bet365

James Hook will replace the injured Rhys Priestland in the Wales starting XV in the Rugby World Cup semi-final against France.

Priestland has been ruled out with a shoulder injury, giving Hook, who has only played a few minutes at number 10 during Wales' campaign, a chance at fly-half. Stephen Jones will replace Hook on the bench in Warren Gatland's only other change.

"Time was against Rhys, but we are happy that we have the talent and ability elsewhere in the squad to cover him," said the Wales coach.

"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' absence leaves us any weaker."

Luke Charteris, Jamie Roberts, George North and Sam Warburton have all missed training with various problems but all are fit for Saturday.

Gatland insists his players are fully focused on beating France at the weekend and overcoming their poor recent record against Les Bleus, before they can even think of making the final. They are now 4/5 to win the match.

"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," he said.

"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."


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