RWC 2011: Wales team to play France

With kickoff now less than 48 hours away, Wales have named their side for their biggest Rugby World Cup match in history.

As expected, Rhys Priestland has failed to recover from a shoulder injury picked up in the quarter-final against Ireland. The young 10 has been exceptional in this tournament, but his replacement, James Hook, is far from lacking in talent. Otherwise, Wales remain unchanged.

Wales:

1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Huw Bennett, 3. Adam Jones, 4. Luke Charteris, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Danny Lydiate, 7. Sam Warburton (c), 8. Toby Faletau, 9. Mike Phillips, 10. James Hook, 11. Shane Williams, 12. Jamie Roberts, 13. Jonathan Davies, 14. George North, 15. Leigh Halfpenny

Replacements:

16. Lloyd Burns, 17. Paul James, 18. Bradley Davies, 19. Ryan Jones, 20. Lloyd Williams, 21. Stephen Jones, 22. Scott Williams

Here is the Welsh press conference with coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton, as well as some video footage of Mike Phillips speaking ahead of the match, courtesy of RugbyMedia:

17 thoughts on “RWC 2011: Wales team to play France

  1. now our no 10 factory comes into play …two fantastic replacements….. now there is strength in depth ! Hook to keep french defense honest… Jones to come on last 15 to kick them to victory….

  2. Shame to see any of the top players out of games or out of the tournament, but amazingly Wales have more strength in depth than NZ (at this position at least!). Didn’t think I’d be saying that!

  3. Priestland being out certainly changes the equation somewhat.

    Can Hook bring in Roberts as much as Priestland managed to? He and Jones haven’t managed to in the past. Roberts has been showing the form that made him so good with the Lions and a lot of that has been down to Priestland giving him the ball at the right time and place

    Hook is very gifted but somewhat mecurial (although not to the extent of someone like Cooper)

    He will have Dusautoir in his face all match. Will he be able to handle the pressure?

    1. I don’t think Jamie’s rebirth has just been down to Preistland, remember it was S Jones inside him for that Lions tour, but he still suffered a dip in form when playing outside for Wales for the 2 seasons after. Jamie is simply playing better, I think he’s finally shaken off the after effects of the dodgy shoulder. Pray to God it’ll hold out for two more games.

      Having Hook in there has definitely increased my nervousness though. He’ll be fine with the French back row in his face, but he may succumb to the “do it all myself” style he has sometimes lapsed into in the past. So I reckon Gatland needs to earn his corn in this game by watching the Hook/Roberts partnership carefully and quickly sticking Jones in there if Hook is trying too much running.

      1. You have a point there Brighty. Hook does have a tendency to try too much himself. He needs to remember he has excellent players outside him. Maybe he’s still a little more comfortable at 12, where he needs to run more. But I’m confident that they can beat the French. Mainly because I don’t think the French will have the fitness levels, pace and confidence that Wales have going into the match. As an Englishman, I’m just glad to see one home nation has made it this far. As well as being English, I am also British, and will support any home nation. Especially against Le Frogs!!!!!!

    2. again i say …the two most important men that need to stay fit .. gethin and Adam…priestland has been playing behind a go forward pack and i agree has brought his talents to bare ,but i think you will see hook at his best with this front five…the french will be biggest test yet ! dusautoir will be too busy with our back row…pressure what pressure …… cymru am byth !

  4. If the Welsh back row are going to keep the French busy John, Faletau and Lydiate will need the games of their lives

    Both can be a little bit quiet on occassion, but seem to have been improving game on game. Faletau needs to remember that second half against the Saffas and replicate it for as long as he is on the pitch

    But if Harinordoquy, Dusautoir and Bonnaire play with the same passion we saw against England, the Welsh will have their work cut out

    Early points will be crucial again for confidence and morale. Beyond that, this game will be won or lost in the back row and the half-backs

  5. What an incentive for a player of Hook’s calibre though with Gatland coming out and stating that Priestland can play next week after an injection .Hook knows he has to put in a storming performance to help Wales to a win with a chance for him to get the 10 shirt for himself in the Final .(Cross fingers touch wood etc etc )

    He certainly has the talent as long as he doesn’t overuse it . However we are lucky indeed compared to other countries to have two top notch replacements .

  6. This is a bit off subject but I feel strongly about this point and believe that rugby fans globally would benefit from this thought…please help bring it to the attention of the world rugby authorities in time for the next world cup:

    I find it absurd that the group stages are neverending and then there are only 3 knockout matches on the path to glory. Let them have smaller groups and add an additional knockout stage as they have in the FIFA world cup…think of teams like samoa and tonga relishing a do or die match against the big teams in the second round…knockout matches lets face it are what world cups are about, not round robins

  7. EnglishSpanishFrenchPays de Galles n’ont pas une chance, vous serez à court de vapeur et les Blues vont avancer dans la finale.

    Nos options coups de pied sont aussi forts que le vôtre Yashvili, Trunh-Duc et Doussain.

    Vous êtes loin d’arrogant et sont dans un état ??de choc dans la demi-finale.

    Viva la France !!!!!

    1. Dw i’n meddwl byddwn ni’n ennill. Mae Jamie Roberts a Adam Jones gyda ni, felly dw i’n meddwl byddwn ni’n symud ymlaen rhy fawr am y frangeg. Mwynhewch y gem, ond dim rhy fawr. Rywy’n edrych ymlaen i e.

    2. “Nos options coups de pied sont aussi forts que le vôtre Yashvili, Trunh-Duc et Doussain.”

      What are you talking about? Noone said they weren’t. As an Irish fan, I’m looking forward to seeing the game, but it will hurt all the more knowing we’re not there. The commentary at RTE said in the QF’s that Wales was our toughest test, that if we beat Wales we would have an easier game against England or France i.e. that the QF would be more difficult than the SF. I’m not sure about France though. They’re looking like a team with belief now.

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