Rugby World Cup 2011
Priestland a major injury doubt
ESPNscrum Staff
October 11, 2011
Injured Wales flyhalf Rhys Priestland looks on from the stands during training, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand October 11, 2011
Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland sits out training and is seen as Wales' biggest injury ahead of the France semi-final © Getty Images

Wales fly-half Rhys Priestland has emerged as a major doubt for Wales' semi-final showdown against France in Auckland this weekend.

The Scarlets star was one of five Welsh players to sit out training and is the biggest worry for Warren Gatland as he looks to finalise his team for the crucial game. Priestland remains troubled by a knock to the shoulder he incurred after injuring himself in the closing minutes of the 22-10 quarter-final victory over Ireland in Wellington.

He had his arm in a sling on leaving the stadium and was photographed on the sidelines gingerly holding his shoulder as most of the other Welsh squad members were put through their paces by Warren Gatland.

Other worries include lock Luke Charteris, who has a shoulder injury, centre Jamie Roberts who broke his nose during the game and skipper Sam Warburton. It was unclear why George North missed training on Tuesday. However, they are each expected to figure when Gatland names his team to face France on Thursday.

If Priestland comes through his injury scare, Gatland looks certain to name an unchanged side. However James Hook and Stephen Jones are on standby to play if Priestland fails to recover. Priestland's shoulder injury is thought to be similar to the one which forced Hook off against Samoa and kept him out of the remaining group matches against Namibia and Fiji.

Hook commented: "Rhys has had a bump and it would be between me and Stephen. I would be there if needed and selected. "I have been in the camp for the last six or seven weeks and I am familiar with the calls."

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