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No regrets over French move - Hook

21st November 2013 07:54


James Hook Wales v SA 2013

Relishing opportunity: James Hook

Wales fly-half James Hook maintains he has no regrets over taking his club career to Top 14 side Perpignan from the Ospreys.

Hook's comments are in spite of failing to obtain full release from the French outfit to train and play for his country - a problem that has stalled his international career, and renders him unavailable for Wales' final November Test against Australia next week.

"It's difficult for me to comment but I haven't any regrets," Hook told the South Wales Evening Post.

"Australia is only one game in the international calendar.

"At the end of the day, the club pay my wages. It's not an ideal world.

"Playing in France has been great for me. It's enhanced my rugby and I think I'm a better player for it, so in that respect I have no regrets.

"It's given me the experience of playing in a different league and taken me out of my comfort zone, having to speak a different language and so on.

"That said, I loved playing for the Ospreys when the best players were there.

"It was great for the fans as well (to be able to watch a star-studded side)."

Having been something of a peripheral figure for Wales since the 2011 World Cup, Hook knows Friday's clash with Tonga - a match for which he has been selected in his preferred number ten jersey - is his chance to remind coach Warren Gatland what he is capable of.

"It's my last game of the autumn, so it would be nice to put in a good performance for me and for the team, to put a marker down for the Six Nations," added Hook.

"I want to do the basics and everything well rather than try too hard.

"We know it's going to be physical. Tonga will come out all guns blazing."

And his former Ospreys captain Ryan Jones, who also skippers Wales for Friday's showdown with the Islanders, has backed his ex-club-mate to shine.

"James is one of the most gifted individuals Welsh rugby has seen in a long time," said Jones.

"If you watch the guy train daily, from a skill point of view there's nothing the kid can't do.

"But the role of ten has changed and it's about picking those moments.

"James has a job to do like everyone else in the team. It's about facilitating others at times. It's not all about James Hook, but what James does is buy time for the people beside him because as a defender you will always have one eye on him.

"I don't think he knows what he's going to do half the time. With that, he becomes a wonderful attacking threat."

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