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Henson handed Wales starting spot

Gavin Henson has been handed his chance to push for World Cup selection when Wales face England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Henson will line up in midfield alongside Jamie Roberts, who moves to outside centre, making a first start against England since the 2008 RBS 6 Nations Championship.

The 29-year-old has said he needs to produce something "pretty special" as he pursues a World Cup place after missing out in 2003 and 2007.

Henson is one of four changes from the team beaten 23-19 by England last weekend as Wales go into their penultimate World Cup warm-up game.

The versatile James Hook replaces full-back Morgan Stoddart, who broke his leg at Twickenham and will miss the World Cup, with Stoddart's Scarlets colleague Rhys Priestland continuing in the fly-half role following an accomplished showing.

The other switches are up front, where Newport Gwent Dragons hooker Lloyd Burns gains a first Test start, and his club-mate, lock Luke Charteris, takes over from Bradley Davies in the second row.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has otherwise retained the team on duty at Twickenham, although there are potential opportunities off the bench for young forwards Josh Turnbull and Justin Tipuric.

Flanker Sam Warburton will again skipper the side, but former Wales captain Ryan Jones is ruled out because of a calf problem.

Wales team: J Hook (Perpignan); G North (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G Henson (unattached), Shane Williams (Ospreys); R Priestland (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne); P James (Ospreys), L Burns (Newport Gwent Dragons), C Mitchell (Exeter), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), AW Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, captain), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), R Bevington (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Knoyle (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), A Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons).


From Belfast Telegraph