Wales make 7 changes for Fiji match at World Cup
Updated: September 29, 2011, 23:11
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HAMILTON, New Zealand(AP) Rhys Priestland was preferred to veteran flyhalf Stephen Jones among seven changes to the Wales lineup for its grudge match with Fiji in the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.
Jones was sidelined by a calf muscle injury and missed the first two pool matches against South Africa and Samoa. He was fit to mark his 101st cap in the Red Dragons' tournament-record 81-7 win over Namibia on Monday. But Priestland has regained the No. 10 jersey and will reunite with Mike Phillips in the halves. Jones was in the reserves.
"Every time I have gone out I have really enjoyed it,'' Priestland said. "Hopefully I'll do it again and not put too much pressure on myself.''
Also retained from the Namibia game were center Scott Williams, who scored three tries against Namibia, prop Gethin Jenkins, flanker Ryan Jones, and fullback Lee Byrne.
Huw Bennett and Adam Jones returned in the front row and Luke Charteris was back to lock with Bradley Davies in the only changes in the forwards.
Inside center Jamie Roberts and winger George North were also recalled, while Leigh Halfpenny was swapped to the left wing.
Lock Alun-Wyn Jones and center Jonathan Davies were in the reserves after starting in the previous three Pool D matches.
"There's a six-day turnaround for this game and potentially a six-game turnaround for the quarters. We are just making sure that there was not anyone who'd gone through that period starting every match,'' coach Warren Gatland said. "It was just an opportunity for us to make sure that a couple of players were fresh as well.''
Not considered because of injuries were winger Shane Williams (thigh), fullback James Hook (shoulder) and flanker Dan Lydiate (ankle).
Fiji beat Wales at the last World Cup to advance to the quarterfinals and send the Welsh home from the pool stage. Wales need to beat Fiji to ensure qualifying for the last eight.
"It has been a really positive campaign for us so far and it is important that we go out there and give a good performance on Sunday to keep building on that,'' Gatland said. "We've got to go out there with confidence that we are good enough in the type of rugby we are playing that we can win, and win reasonably well.''
Wales: Lee Byrne, George North, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny, Rhys Priestland, Mike Phillips; Toby Faletau, Sam Warburton (captain), Ryan Jones, Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies, Adam Jones, Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins. Reserves: Lloyd Burns, Paul James, Alun-Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Jonathan Davies.