Wales name side to face South Africa

James Hook is one of eight Ospreys who will start for Wales against South Africa in the Principality Summer Test at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (KO 2.30pm), with another four named on the bench by Warren Gatland.

Hook will undergo surgery on a shoulder problem after Wales face the world champion Springboks and will not travel for the two-Test tour of New Zealand with the rest of the squad later in June. But the winner of the Welsh Rugby Writer’s player of the year award, who helped the Ospreys lift the Magners League title in Leinster at the weekend, is desperate to represent his country one more time before he goes under the knife.

Hook continues his midfield partnership with Blues centre Jamie Roberts in a side which shows just three changes, plus one positional switch, from the one which finished the RBS Six Nations Championship with a 33-10 victory over Italy in March.

In the backs Leigh Halfpenny (Blues) comes in on the wing, in place of the injured Osprey Shane Williams, who has withdrawn from the squad and the tour with shoulder problems, with Wales’ youngest international Tom Prydie (Ospreys) switching wins to win his second cap and allowing Halfpenny to feature on the right.

And there are just two changes up front with Blues second row Deiniol Jones replacing Dragon Luke Charteris and in the front row Ospreys prop Paul James replaces the Blues’ Gethin Jenkins.

James is desperate to play and it just shows how much it means to him to put that red jersey on,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“We are obviously delighted have him and would particularly like to thank Scott Johnson and Andrew Hore at the Ospreys who have helped to make it possible. You only have to look at the man-of-the-match and player of the year awards James has been picking up to see what a great asset he is to any team and we will be facing the World Champions a stronger team because of his involvement.

“We are very much looking forward to the challenge of facing the number one team in the world at the Millennium Stadium in the glorious summer sunshine in front of our home crowd on Saturday afternoon.”

On the bench Andy Powell completes his return from the calf injury which kept him out of the Blues back row towards the end of the season and for their recent Amlin Challenge Cup success, and is joined by four Ospreys, hooker Huw Bennett, lock Alun Wyn Jones, fly-half Dan Biggar and centre Andrew Bishop and two Blues colleagues, prop John Yapp and scrum half Richie Rees.

“James wants to play and it has come out of the blue for us but we are delighted,” said Wales assistant coach Rob Howley.

“He may feel he has unfinished business against the Springboks having retired early from the Lions tour due to injury, but we very much welcome his enthusiasm and are pleased to be able to form that midfield partnership of James and Jamie (Roberts).”

Newport Gwent Dragons wing Will Harries has also been called up to the squad from the standby list to replace the injured Shane Williams and will join the tour of New Zealand.

“Will has been going extremely well in training and he is a real young talent, one of the uncapped players to be making the trip and he will hopefully learn a lot and continue to put pressure on the rest of the back three,” said Howley.

WALES: Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, James Hook, Jamie Roberts, Tom Prydie, Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Paul James, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Sam Warburton, Ryan Jones (Capt)

REPLACEMENTS: Huw Bennett, John Yapp, Alun Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Richie Rees, Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop


15 Lee BYRNE (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,041)
DoB: 01.06.80. 6'3" / 1.91m. 15st 1lb / 96kgs
International record: 32 caps (W 14, L 17, D 1; 40 pts – 8T)

14 Leigh HALFPENNY (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,060)
DoB: 22.12.88. 5’10” / 1.77m. 12st 11lbs / 81kgs
International record: 14 caps (W 6, L 8; 53 pts – 7T, 6PG)

13 James HOOK (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,047)
DoB: 27.06.85. 6’0” / 1.83m. 14st 10lbs / 93kgs
International record: 42 caps (W 18, L 23, D 1; 224 pts – 9T,34C,35PG,2DG)

12 Jamie ROBERTS (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,057)
DoB: 08.11.86. 6’4” / 1.93m. 16st 10lbs / 107kgs
International record: 21 caps (W 10, L 11; 5 pts – 1T)

DoB: 23.02.92. 6’4” / 1.94m. 13st 10lbs / 87kgs
International record: 1 cap (W 1)

10 Stephen JONES (SCARLETS – Cap No 966)
DoB: 08.12.77. 6'1” / 1.86m. 15st 0lbs / 95kgs
International record: 88 caps (W39, L47, D2; 794 pts - 7T,129C,162PG,5DG)

9 Michael PHILLIPS (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,022)
DoB: 29.08.82. 6’3” / 1.91m. 16st 4lbs / 103kgs
International record: 39 caps (W 21, L 17, D 1; 20 pts – 4T)

1 Paul JAMES (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,021)
DoB: 13.05.82. 6’1” / 1.86m. 18st 4lbs / 116kgs
International record: 10 caps (W 5, L 5)

2 Matthew REES (SCARLETS – Cap No 1,033)
DoB: 09.12.80. 6’0” / 1.83m. 17st 3lbs / 109kgs
International record: 36 caps (W 17, L 18, D 1; 10 pts – 2T)

3 Adam Rhys JONES (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,018)
DoB: 08.03.81. 6’0” / 1.83m. 19st 10lb / 125kgs
International record: 61 caps (W 31, L 28, D 2; 10 pts – 2T)

4 Bradley DAVIES (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,065)
DoB: 09.01.87. 6’6” / 1.98m. 18st 11lbs / 119kgs
International record: 10 caps (W 6, L 4)

5 Deiniol JONES (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 981)
DoB: 18.11.77. 6’5” 1.96m. 17st 3lbs / 109kgs
International record: 8 caps (W 6, L 2)

6 Jonathan THOMAS (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,013)
DoB: 27.12.82. 6’5” / 1.96m. 17st 13lbs / 114kgs
International record: 55 caps (W 27, L 26, D 2; 35 pts – 7T)

DoB: 05.10.88. 1.88m / 6’2”. 15st 11lbs / 100kgs
International record: 6 caps (W 4, L 2)

8 Ryan JONES (OSPREYS, CAPTAIN – Cap No 1,029)
DoB: 13.03.81. 6’5” / 1.96m. 18st 0lbs / 114kgs
International record: 40 caps (W 23, L 16, D 1; 5 pts – 1T)


16 Huw BENNETT (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,017)
DoB: 11.06.83. 6’0” / 1.83m. 16st 10lbs / 106kgs
International record: 32 caps (W 18, L 14)

17 John YAPP (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,031)
DoB: 09.04.83. 6’2” / 1.88m. 18st 8lbs / 118kgs
International record: 14 caps (W 12, L 2)

18 Alun Wyn JONES (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,046)
DoB: 19.09.85. 6’5” / 1.96m. 18st 8lbs / 118kgs
International record: 37 caps (W 16, L 21; 20 pts – 4T)

19 Andy POWELL (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,061)
DoB: 23.08.81. 6’4” / 1.94m. 17st 6lbs / 111kgs
International record: 14 caps (W 8, L 6)

20 Richard REES (CARDIFF BLUES – Cap No 1,072)
DoB: 21.05.83. 5’11” / 1.80m. 12st 7lb / 79kgs
International record: 4 caps (W 1, L 3)

21 Dan BIGGAR (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,063)
DoB: 16.10.89. 6’2” / 1.88m. 14st 3lbs / 90kgs
International record: 4 caps (W 4; 44 pts – 7C, 10PG)

22 Andrew BISHOP (OSPREYS – Cap No 1,059)
DoB: 07.08.85. 6’0” / 1.83m. 14st 12lbs / 94kgs
International record: 10 caps (W 7, L 3)