Wales Replaces Injured Priestland With Hook for Rugby World Cup Semifinal

Wales made one starting change for its Rugby World Cup semifinal against France on Oct. 15, choosing James Hook at fly-half after Rhys Priestland was ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Priestland wasn’t considered for selection for the match at Auckland’s Eden Park after getting injured during the 22-10 quarterfinal win over Ireland five days ago, the Welsh Rugby Union said. He’ll continue his rehabilitation over the next few days with a view to returning next week, the WRU said.

With Hook taking Priestland’s spot in the starting lineup, fellow British and Irish Lions representative Stephen Jones, who’s played a record 102 Tests for Wales, was called onto the replacements’ bench.

“Time was against Rhys,” Wales coach Warren Gatland said in a statement. “When we have players of the caliber 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.”

Wales has advanced to its first World Cup semifinal since the inaugural 1987 tournament, where it finished third.

WALES: 1. Gethin Jenkins, 2. Huw Bennett, 3. Adam Jones 4. Luke Charteris, 5. Alun Wyn Jones, 6. Danny Lydiate, 7. Sam Warburton (captain) 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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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