Jones given fly-half spot ahead of Hook

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The Independent Online

Wales have gone for the experience of Stephen Jones at fly-half for Saturday's opening Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein.

The Llanelli veteran has been preferred ahead of James Hook. The head coach Warren Gatland admitted it was another tight call, with Hook included on the bench. Gatland said: "We are lucky to have two players of the calibre of Stephen Jones and James Hook competing for the same position. I'm very comfortable with the balance of our backline heading into this game."

Llanelli's Dafydd Jones has been named at openside flanker and will win his 13th cap. Wales have travelled to South Africa without a specialist No 7 and were expected to experiment by playing Jonathan Thomas out of position. But Thomas has been retained on the blindside with captain Ryan Jones continuing at No 8 and Gareth Delve settling on the bench.

Wales (v South Africa, Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, 7June): J Roberts (Cardiff); M Jones (Llanelli), T Shanklin (Cardiff), S Parker (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Llanelli), G Cooper (Gloucester); G Jenkins (Cardiff), M Rees (Llanelli), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), Dafydd Jones (Llanelli), R Jones (Ospreys, capt). Replacements: Duncan Jones (Ospreys), R Hibbard (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), G Delve (Gloucester), W Fury (London Irish), J Hook (Ospreys), M Stoddart (Llanelli).