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Williams blow for Wales

Shane Williams has emerged as the latest injury casualty of Wales' World Cup campaign.

The dynamic Ospreys wing, Wales' record try scorer with 55 Test touchdowns, is suffering from a muscle strain at the top of his leg.

Full-back James Hook (shoulder) and flanker Dan Lydiate (ankle) are both battling to be fit in time for Wales' possible quarter-final clash against Ireland on October 8.

Hook, Lydiate and now Williams could all miss Wales' crucial Pool D finale against Fiji in Hamilton tomorrow week.

"We have had Shane scanned, and he has got a bit of a quad strain which we think he may have done against South Africa. We thought it was a haematoma, which is a knock, and he's played against Samoa," Wales coach Warren Gatland said. "With Shane potentially being injured for next week, we need to look at the wing combinations. Shane might be a couple of weeks."

Gatland, meanwhile, has made 11 changes to the starting line-up for Monday's World Cup clash against Namibia at Stadium Taranaki. Only centre Jonathan Davies, lock Alun-Wyn Jones, skipper Sam Warburton and number eight Toby Faletau remain from the side that defeated Samoa last weekend.

Fly-half Stephen Jones and back-row forward Ryan Jones both return after recovering from calf muscle injuries. Scarlets playmaker Stephen Jones will win his 101st cap, breaking the Wales appearance record he previously jointly held with Gareth Thomas.

Jones had been poised to achieve that feat against England seven weeks ago, but his calf tightened during the warm-up at Twickenham and ruled him out of action since then. Former Wales captain Ryan Jones, meanwhile, makes his World Cup debut after missing the 2007 tournament through injury, packing down at blindside flanker alongside back-row colleagues Warburton and Faletau.

There is a first Wales start since last November for Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins, with full-back Lee Byrne among nine players making full World Cup debuts.

Uncapped Scarlets hooker Ken Owens features on the replacements' bench, where his colleagues include Cardiff Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams, the son of former Wales number nine Brynmor Williams. Wales require a bonus-point victory against Namibia to keep them on course for a probable quarter-final appointment with Ireland in Wellington next month.


From Belfast Telegraph