Hook suffers blow to Six Nations hopes
December 13, 2011
James Hook may miss out on selection for the Six Nations in 2012 © Getty Images
James Hook's hopes of featuring for Wales during the 2012 Six Nations have taken a blow after Perpignan confirmed they would not release him for the pre-tournament camp.
With the likes of Adam Jones, Gethin Jenkins and Luke Charteris all pondering moves to join Hook in France, Warren Gatland has previously declared that their international ambitions will be harmed if they move cross-Channel. Gatland looks set to assemble his squad a fortnight before the start of the 2012 Six Nations on February 5, but with the Top 14 in action on the weekend of January 27-29, French clubs are within their right to keep hold of their stars.
And Perpignan, who are struggling in France's elite division, will not release Hook for Wales' training trip to Spala. "James will stay with Perpignan because our game against Brive is too important," Perpignan president Paul Goze told Wales Online. "We will release him for the Six Nations tournament but, if Mr Gatland needs him earlier, the answer at this moment would have to be no."
And Bayonne, where scrum-half Mike Phillips is plying his trade, look set to follow suit. Caretaker coach Jean-Pierre Elissalde, who took the helm of the troubled French side last week, said: "For me, it's a big problem."
Gatland has previously said: "If those players in France, along with English players, can't get full release for the Six Nations they will not be selected in the squad.
"There have been one or two who have left Wales because they haven't been wanted by the other regions. That's something we have to be mindful of."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action