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Wales 14:30 Australia

Wales play down injury list

Bennett called into squad as cover

Last Updated: 07/03/11 7:06pm

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Bennett: joined up with injury-hit Wales squad

Bennett: joined up with injury-hit Wales squad

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Wales gave an upbeat assessment on their various injury doubts ahead of Saturday's RBS Six Nations meeting with title rivals Ireland.

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Captain Matthew Rees and playmaker James Hook are among those Wales say have been "managing issues around training".

Experienced Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett has been called into the squad as cover for Richard Hibbard (shoulder), while starting hooker Rees has a hamstring injury.

Elsewhere, Hook and number eight Ryan Jones both have calf muscle problems, with wing Morgan Stoddart (shoulder) and back-row forward Jonathan Thomas (dead leg) also being monitored.

"Both Matthew and Morgan have responded well to extensive treatment since picking up their injuries against Italy," said Wales national performance medical manager Prav Mathema.

"Matthew has a slight hamstring problem, and Morgan sustained an injury to his shoulder during that match.

"But the medical staff have managed both players very well, and together with the hard work they have put in so far, we expect both to be available for Ireland.

Rest

"Richard has a shoulder problem sustained during his outing for the Ospreys this weekend and he needs rest at the moment, although he too should be okay for Saturday.

"Jonathan also picked up his injury at the weekend, and we will further assess him towards the end of this week.

"The issues with Ryan and James just mean they have taken a limited part in some sessions so far during our preparation, but again, both will be fine."

Injuries permitting, it is anticipated Wales coach Warren Gatland will make minimal changes for the Ireland game after successive away wins against Scotland and Italy.

A move back to fly-half for Hook is expected, with fit-again Jonathan Davies being reunited in the centre with Jamie Roberts. Gatland is due to announce his team on Thursday.

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