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Priestland secures fly-half berth

Rhys Priestland has been handed the Wales fly-half role for Sunday's World Cup Pool D clash against South Africa.

Scarlets player Priestland reclaims the number 10 shirt he last wore when Wales beat England in a tournament warm-up game at the Millennium Stadium four weeks ago.

The versatile James Hook again features at full-back, forging a menacing Wales back-three alongside wings George North and Shane Williams.

Elsewhere, Wales coach Warren Gatland has sprung a surprise in the second-row, where Newport Gwent Dragons lock Luke Charteris is preferred to Cardiff Blues forward Bradley Davies.

Calf muscle injuries sideline fly-half Stephen Jones, prop Gethin Jenkins and number eight Ryan Jones, while 2009 Lions first Test full-back Lee Byrne does not feature in the matchday 22.

Leigh Halfpenny provides back-three cover off the bench, and Byrne, who had a poor game in Wales' final warm-up fixture against Argentina, misses out completely.

There are three changes from the side that defeated England, with centre Jonathan Davies, hooker Huw Bennett and prop Adam Jones all claiming starting places.

Wales team: James Hook; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Adam Jones, Luke Charteris, Alun-Wyn Jones, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Lee Burns, R Bevington, Bradley Davies, Andy Powell, T Knoyle, Scott Williams, Leigh Halfpenny.


From Belfast Telegraph