Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales recall Dan Lydiate and Shane Williams
Rugby World Cup 2011 quarter-final: Ireland v Wales
- Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium
- Date: Saturday, 8 October
- Kick-off: 0600 BST/ 1800 NZ
Coverage: Live text commentary, scores and report on BBC website; updates on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio 5 live; watch live on ITV1 & S4C (Welsh language), live commentary on BBC Radio Cymru (Welsh language) & TalkSport radio
Wales recall fit-again Dan Lydiate and Shane Williams for Saturday's World Cup quarter-final with Ireland.
Lydiate replaces Ryan Jones at blind-side, Williams returns on the left wing, while Alun Wyn Jones comes in for the benched Bradley Davies at lock.
Jonathan Davies returns to partner Jamie Roberts at centre, while Leigh Halfpenny moves to full-back from wing.
James Hook is named on the bench after his shoulder injury, meaning there is no place in the 22 for Stephen Jones.
Scarlets and British and Irish Lions fly-half Jones started the win over Namibia, becoming Wales' record caps holder in the process, and then stretched his tally to 102 off the bench in the win over Fiji last weekend.
But as utility back Hook has recovered sufficiently to take a place on the bench, and with Rhys Priestland continuing at fly-half, there is no place for 33-year-old veteran Jones.
There is also no place for fellow Lion Lee Byrne, who started at full-back against Fiji but is also surplus to requirements in Wellington.
Scott Williams, who started in the final pool match against Fiji , is among the replacements alongside Davies, Ryan Jones and Hook.
Eight of Warren Gatland's match-day squad are aged 23 or under, which confirms the impact the younger generation have made on the tournament.
The head coach had the luxury of having a fully-fit squad to choose from for Saturday's game in Wellington against an Ireland side that will be unchanged from the victory against Italy.
Lydiate has not featured since Wales' victory over Samoa on 18 September when he was forced off during the opening 10 minutes after suffering ankle ligament damage.
As part of his initial bid to regain fitness, Lydiate woke at two-hourly intervals throughout the night to ice his ankle.
Wales' World Cup record
- 1987: Third place
- 1991: Pool stages
- 1995: Pool stages
- 1999: Quarter-final
- 2003: Quarter-final
- 2007: Pool stages
- 2011: Knock-out stage
Hook suffered a shoulder injury and was substituted during the win over Samoa but the versatile back, who can play at fly-half, centre or full-back, took part in full training all week.
Record try-scorer Williams returns after he was not risked against the Fijians as he came back from an injury suffered against Samoa.
Wales retain the front row of Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett and Adam Jones, with Toby Faletau and captain Sam Warburton joining Lydiate in the back-row.
Among the replacements Blues scrum-half Lloyd Williams gets the nod over Tavis Knoyle, joining Hook and Scott Williams as cover for the backs.
Paul James and Dragons hooker Lloyd Burns are retained to provide front-row cover alongside lock Davies and back-five forward Ryan Jones.
"This was a tough selection for us, probably one of the longest selection meetings we have ever had where we went through every possible permutation available to us," said Gatland.
Wales v Ireland at the World Cup
- 1987: Wales 13-6 Ireland (Pool match)
- 1995: Wales 23-24 Ireland (Pool match)
"It's a great position to be in when you are struggling to find a place for players in the squad and the starting line-up, instead of having to think who can make up the numbers, which has sometimes been the case.
"This is Rugby World Cup quarter-final time and we had some tough decisions to make with the likes of Dan, Shane and James returning from injury and the side having done so well in their recent absence.
"But this is the side we have gone with and, as a 22, we believe it is the side which gives us the best chance of winning this game against an Ireland team which, not only topped their group, but beat the Wallabies on the way."
Ireland, the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam champions, boast a 100% record at this year's World Cup and shocked pre-tournament favourites Australia with a 15-6 victory as the Irish went on to top Pool C.
Wales, the 2008 Grand Slam winners, have won their last three games since losing to defending champions South Africa in their opening tournament game in New Zealand.
Wales: Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); George North (Scarlets), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Bayonne); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Dragons) Sam Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt), Toby Faletau (Dragons).
Replacements: Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Paul James (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), Scott Williams (Scarlets).