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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 12:31 GMT
Wales give Jones nod for Ireland
Stephen Jones
Jones will start ahead of James Hook for Ireland clash

Date: Saturday, 8 March
Kick-off: 1315 GMT
Venue: Croke Park, Dublin
BBC Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Sport website (UK users only), Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

Scarlets outside-half Stephen Jones has held on to the number 10 shirt for Wales' Triple Crown attempt against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

Jones will be partnered at half-back by Ospreys' Mike Phillips, who was chosen ahead of Dwayne Peel as part of four changes made by coach Warren Gatland.

Ospreys lock Alun Wyn Jones returns from injury for team-mate Ian Evans.

Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees and Dragons prop Rhys Thomas make way for Ospreys duo Huw Bennett and Adam Jones.

Blues loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins keeps his starting place ahead of Ospreys Duncan Jones, who started the season first choice for Wales.

Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "A number of players have had a run-out for us in the first three games of the championship and selection in most areas could be put down to the toss of a coin which is testament to the effort the guys have put in.


"We have had to make a judgement call at scrum-half, in the front row and in the second row, but it really is a close call for us in each of those positions as well as elsewhere in the team."

Gatland knows they will have to be at their best at Croke Park if they are to secure the Triple Crown.

"Ireland are a fantastic side. They have been a top five team in world rugby for a number of years and we have an opportunity to measure ourselves and find out where we are.

"We go there as underdogs. If we don't keep a tight rein on Ronan O'Gara it could be a long day for us.

"We are in a great position going for a Triple Crown, which would be nice, but the most important thing to us is the championship.

"The Triple Crown would be the icing on the cake, but at this stage we just need to make sure our performance is where we want it to be and take it from there."

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Mark Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Llanelli Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
Replacements: Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Llanelli Scarlets), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Gareth Delve (Gloucester), Dwayne Peel (Llanelli Scarlets), James Hook (Ospreys), Sonny Parker (Ospreys).

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