Injury woe for Welsh duo

Injury woe for Welsh duo

Wales have problems over key players for pool stage

James Hook

Wales could be without James Hook and Dan Lydiate for the remainder of their World Cup pool schedule due to injuries.

Full-back Hook and flanker Lydiate both sustained their knocks during the first half of Sunday’s tense 17-10 victory over Samoa at Waikato Stadium.

Hook has a shoulder problem and Lydiate hurt his ankle, raising doubts over their availability for Pool D clashes against Namibia in New Plymouth next Monday and Fiji six days later.

The aim for Wales, though, would be to have both players fit and ready ahead of their potential quarter-final clash against Ireland in Wellington on October 8.

“I think it’s a grade one or two injury that James has,” Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards said. “That usually means two or three weeks.

“Dan is still in a moon boot, but they put moon boots on everything these days. James is a bit easier to read because he’s done his AC joint.”

Edwards, meanwhile, hailed Wales’ Herculean defensive effort after a second-half shut out of Samoa kept them on course for the tournament’s knockout phase.

Wales turned a four-point interval deficit into victory, with wing Shane Williams’ 55th Test match try seeing them home.

Edwards praise

“I gave the boys a target of 12 points (conceded) and Samoa got 10,” defence specialist Edwards added.

“The boys showed massive character. This time last year we would have lost that game, but our conditioning came into it.

“In the first half, we played into a bit of a breeze and were defending in our own 22 for seven minutes, which is a record, really.

“I was concerned at half-time, I think everybody was. (But) I couldn’t portray that to the players. I had to give them instructions, specifics that we needed to do.

“We just basically said ‘Lads, this is the time in this game when you are going to have to dig to the bottom of your boots,’ and it came to the fore in the last 10 minutes.”

Wales had lost both their previous World Cup games against Samoa, losing 16-13 in 1991 and 38-31 eight years later, and a repeat looked possible when Bath-bound prop Anthony Perenise touched down to give the South Sea Islanders an interval advantage.

But Wales, their peak physical fitness proving a key factor, kept composure before and after the counter-attack try sparked from deep by replacement full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

Prop Adam Jones said: “We had to grind it out. We knew it was going to be a tough game.

“Samoa have been a bit of a bogey team for us and there are two big pool games left now. We’ve slipped up in games like this before, so nobody is going to count their chickens too much.”