Wales v France, Rugby World Cup semi-final, October 15
Wales hopeful over injured duo
ESPNscrum Staff
October 10, 2011
Wales' Rhys Priestland surveys the action, Wales v Samoa, Rugby World Cup, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand, September 18, 2011
Priestland has impressed for Wales in the fly-half berth © Getty Images

Wales are optimistic fly-half Rhys Priestland and lock Luke Charteris will shake off injury concerns in time for Saturday's World Cup semi-final showdown with France.

Both players suffered shoulder knocks during the quarter-final victory over Ireland in Wellington two days ago. Charteris went off at half-time after delivering an outstanding performance, while Priestland departed just before the end of a titanic struggle that Wales won 22-10.

"It is pretty sore, but it should be good to go," Newport Gwent Dragons forward Charteris said at the squad's central Auckland base.

Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins added: "On Rhys, we are waiting to see what happens the next couple of days and hopefully he will be fine."

Wales, who are already guaranteed their most successful World Cup since the inaugural tournament 24 years ago, are bidding to reach a first final. But Jenkins is well aware of the dangers posed by a French team that knocked out England in the last eight and can boast six victories from the last seven starts against Wales.

Wales' only success since 2005 against Les Bleus came during their Six Nations Grand Slam-winning season three years ago.

"Obviously, we know what France are all about," Jenkins said. "They are a fantastic side and they have beaten us the last three times we played them. We are under no illusions of what is ahead of us.

"This is certainly the biggest game I have been involved in, and certainly for the players and the same for Welsh rugby history. We have had some fantastic seasons in the past, and we have let ourselves down as well. We would like to keep some consistency, and I think what we have done over the last four years is why we are here."

Jenkins also backed Wales' exciting young generation of players - coach Warren Gatland fielded eight players aged 23 and under in last weekend's matchday squad - to cope with a high-octane occasion at Eden Park.

"I think they are taking this in their stride," he added. "We have a fantastic chance on Saturday, as does France. We have a lot to play for and this is a great opportunity.

"The way they [the young players] are playing they do not have a lot of fear at this moment in time. If France turn up and play their A game, they are one of the best sides in the world. We expect France to be at their best, and that is what we are preparing for."

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