Rugby WC: Hot week-end in New Zealand

This week-end the semifinals of the World Cup in New Zealand are to be played, when Wales will face France, on Saturday, and Australia will meet the “All Blacks” on Sunday.

The All Blacks believe the Wallabies are still a threat at RWC 2011, despite Australia’s loss to Ireland in the pool stage.

“They’re still the quality outfit that they’ve always been. They had one stumble but they’re looking just as strong as they ever were,” said number 8 Victor Vito, quoted by the official website of the competition The rivalry between the two nations is no secret in the southern hemisphere.

Historically Eden Park has not been good to Australia. The Wallabies have beaten the All Blacks just four times there, the last win coming in 1986. But just as Australia refuse to see it as a hoodoo, New Zealand don’t see it as an advantage.
On the other hand, when Wales announces their team for the semi-final against France, all eyes will be on whether fly half Rhys Priestland is named to the starting XV.

Priestland suffered a shoulder injury in the quarter-final triumph over Ireland, leaving James Hook and Stephen Jones as possible replacements.

Hook insists he is ready if the call comes from Wales coach Warren Gatland.

“I would be there if needed and selected,” said the 57-Test playmaker. “I have been in the camp for the last six or seven weeks and I am familiar with the calls. If I am called upon I will be chuffed.”

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