Wales worrying about Priestland's shoulder
Updated: October 11, 2011, 22:23
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) Wales is still waiting for the injured left shoulder of flyhalf Rhys Priestland to show improvement so he can be confirmed in the lineup on Thursday to play France in the Rugby World Cup semifinals.
Priestland went off three minutes from the end of the quarterfinal win over Ireland last Saturday in Wellington.
He carried his left arm in a sling on Sunday and Monday, and so far it has failed to respond to treatment.
Coach Warren Gatland will announce his team on Thursday, and Priestland is the only player in doubt.
Lock Luke Charteris (shoulder), captain Sam Warburton (groin), center Jamie Roberts (nose) were recovering well enough and expected to play on Saturday at Eden Park.
Priestland has enjoyed a stunning rise in the national team since making his debut against Scotland in February in the Six Nations. His poise and decision-making since moving from fullback to flyhalf have so impressed the coaches that he was started at No. 10 in the quarterfinal ahead of Stephen Jones, the record-holder for most appearances for Wales, and James Hook. Both were on standby for Priestland.
Hook also injured his shoulder against Samoa, and missed the remaining pool games against Namibia and Fiji. He and Jones have been taking extra kicking practice this week in preparation for Wales' shot at its first World Cup final.