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Page last updated at 08:37 GMT, Thursday, 3 June 2010 09:37 UK

Wales suffer Andy Powell injury blow

Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 5 June Kick-off: 1430 BST
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC TWO Wales & online, full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru & online, score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sport website

Andy Powell was kicked out of the Wales squad in February
Andy Powell was kicked out of the Wales squad in February

Andy Powell has been ruled out of Wales' clash with South Africa in Cardiff on Saturday and the two-Test tour to New Zealand later in June.

The Cardiff Blues back-row was axed from the Six Nations squad in February for driving a golf buggy while drunk.

He was recalled to the bench to face the Springboks, but has suffered a torn thigh muscle.

"We lost Andy to an injury he sustained during a session on Tuesday," said Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde.

"It's bad news for Andy, but from our side of things, it gives another couple of individuals an opportunity, namely Rob McCusker [Scarlets] who will step up to the bench on Saturday and Gavin Thomas from the Dragons who will join us for the tour.

"Both thoroughly deserve their opportunity and they've shown up well in training so we're pleased with them."

James Hook will make a shock appearance against South Africa but Shane Williams will miss all three matches.

Hook will continue at centre alongside Jamie Roberts, but will not tour down under, after pleading to play and delaying shoulder surgery.

Hook will undergo his surgery after facing the Springboks and Newport Gwent Dragon Will Harries has been called into the squad to replace wing Williams who also has shoulder problems.

Tom Prydie switches to the left wing with Leigh Halfpenny on the right.

Coach Warren Gatland thanked Ospreys bosses for helping make Hook available.

Gatland said: "James is desperate to play and it just shows how much it means to him to put that red jersey on

"We are obviously delighted to 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."

Dave Morgan

Wales assistant coach Robert Howley said: "James wants to play and it has come out of the blue for us but we are delighted.

"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."

There are two changes up front as Deiniol Jones takes over from injured Luke Charteris and in the front row Gethin Jenkins' absence (calf) gives Paul James a chance at loose-head prop.

Alun Wyn Jones returns on the bench, following his successful recovery from a chipped elbow suffered in the dramatic Six Nations win over Scotland.

Lock Jones played his part as the Ospreys campaign ended in their Magners League Grand Final win at Leinster on Saturday.

After taking on the Springboks at the Millennium Stadium, Wales travel to New Zealand for two Tests - a June programme Gatland believes will determine his squad's fitness for next year's World Cup.

"We will know where we are physically after this summer," said the New Zealander.

"One thing we have prioritised over the last few years is our physicality, probably to the detriment of our individual skills and game.

"If we're going to do well then we need to physically match the top teams in the world.

James Hook and Shane Williams
James Hook faces the Springboks, but Shane Williams' season is over

"We've done a huge amount over the past couple of years and I think we've made significant progress. We saw that with the Welsh boys on the Lions tour.

"The All Blacks coaches told me last autumn they expected us to fall away significantly in the second half, but they were surprised at how well we finished.

"We were virtually camped on their line for the final 10 minutes.

"We have got one of the most physical pools in the World Cup. But if we come out of that, we will be in good shape.

"That's why this summer is the start of our preparations. We're trying to replicate things in these three games.

"The first game at the World Cup will be massive against South Africa, then we have two physical games in Samoa and Fiji, as we have this summer with New Zealand.

"Hopefully that will be similar to the World Cup."

Springboks coach Peter de Villiers has named a team that includes five Europe-based starters given the chance to press claims for 2011 World Cup places.

He has also recalled scrum-half Ricky Januarie, who spent three months with the Ospreys during their Magners League-winning season.

But Gatland says no-one should be fooled by the absence of global stars such as Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger and Bryan Habana from the visitors' line-up.

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

Warren Gatland

Wales have beaten South Africa only once - in the Millennium Stadium's opening game in 1999 - and Gatland said: "It's a great chance for us. They've got world class and World Cup players.

"We've felt against South Africa we've had a couple of opportunities in recent years and we haven't quite taken them.

"Ten or 11 years ago, no-one talks about the fact that South Africa left 10 or 11 players at home on that occasion when Wales won.

"So for us, I don't care who we're playing against in terms of individuals - we just want to win.

"And if we can win against South Africa it gives us great confidence going on tour [to New Zealand]."

Injury ruled out Charteris while Gatland rested Martyn Williams and Dwayne Peel.

They joined prop Jenkins, Duncan Jones, Richard Hibbard, Dafydd Jones, Dan Lydiate, Gareth Cooper, Tom Shanklin, Tom James and Mark Jones on the sidelines, while Gareth Delve was not considered.

Those absentees apart, coach Gatland named his strongest available squad for the three Tests.

Ryan Jones leads a party including Stephen Jones, Adam Jones and Roberts, who have all had a long season in the wake of last summer's British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Wales: Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), James Hook (Ospreys), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Tom Prydie (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Paul James (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Bradley Davies (Blues), Deiniol Jones (Blues), Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Ryan Jones (capt, Ospreys).
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), John Yapp (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Rob McCusker (Scarlets), Richie Rees (Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys).

Wales squad for June Tests:

Forwards: Bradley Davies, Deiniol Jones, Sam Warburton, John Yapp (all Cardiff Blues), Huw Bennett, Paul James, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Craig Mitchell (all Ospreys), Rob McCusker, Ken Owens, Matthew Rees, (all Scarlets), Gavin Thomas, (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Backs: Leigh Halfpenny, Richie Rees, Jamie Roberts (all Cardiff Blues), Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Lee Byrne, James Hook (only available for South Africa Test), Mike Phillips, Tom Prydie, Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Tavis Knoyle (all Scarlets), Will Harries (Newport Gwent Dragons).

Standby list (to train with the squad in the UK and cover injuries for the New Zealand tour):

Blues: Scott Andrews, Chris Czekaj, Rhys Thomas.

Ospreys: Ian Gough.

Scarlets: Martin Roberts.

Dragons: Jason Tovey.

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see also
Boks replace James with De Jongh
03 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Wales told to 'send Boks packing'
03 Jun 10 |  Welsh
James withdrawn from Wales Test
02 Jun 10 |  Welsh
Gatland dismisses Johnson's views
29 May 10 |  Welsh
Johnson backs Wales in June Tests
27 May 10 |  Welsh
Mitchell in for injured Jenkins
27 May 10 |  Welsh
Hore injury blow for New Zealand
15 May 10 |  Welsh
Wales excited by new-boy Knoyle
17 May 10 |  Welsh
Powell back for Wales' June Tests
16 May 10 |  Welsh
Gatland considers 50-strong list
30 Apr 10 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Country profile: New Zealand
28 Nov 11 |  Country profiles
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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