Mermoz lauds new arrival Hook
November 7, 2011
Hook took his bow for Perpignan on Saturday © Getty Images
Perpignan and France centre Maxime Mermoz has tipped his new team mate James Hook to be a success in French rugby after a sparkling debut performance against Toulouse on Saturday.
Despite slumping to a 21-17 defeat, it was the Catalan side which had more to crow about at the final whistle, putting in a performance of real substance after what has been a difficult start to the season. But it was the Welshman who really stood out in his first game for the French side, consigning his disappointing World Cup form to the history books.
"Everyone feels his presence," Mermoz told Midi Olympique. "He adds dynamism to our game and brings a lot of danger. It's easy to play outside of him. We have seen the arrival of a great No. 10."
Stade Francais coach Michael Cheika has his cited his side's improved decision making as one of the key factors behind their 36-17 win over Clermont Auvergne at the Stade de France. Cheika told l'Equipe: "Today, the majority of the decisions we made were good. When to play, when to tap and go, when to attack, when to be more conservative and so on. We've got to keep going now without stopping.
"We knew before the game that this was an important game. It's easy to say that after you've won the game but you can't hide the truth of this championship. It wasn't just for the result but for us as a group too."
Meanwhile Racing Metro boss Pierre Berbizier believes his side's season may have finally turned a corner ahead of this weekend's Heineken showdown with Cardiff Blues, after their 12-18 victory at Brive. Berbizier was delighted with the application shown during their hard-fought win, which was played in difficult weather conditions.
"The predominant satisfaction was of seeing the players adapt to the climatic conditions," he told La Montagne. "We were able to find our base level of performance which allowed us to optimise the resources we had at the time. We did all we could today. We'll do even better tomorrow."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards Rewinds to 1975 when three Welsh legends were handed their debuts and assesses their legacy
Seven places in the Champions Cup quarter-finals are up for grabs; we break down the permutations for each group in the final round of matches
"Easter must show he is built in the Lancaster blueprint despite having not featured on the England radar until now," writes Tom Hamilton
Monday Maul reflects on a stark setback against Saracens for Munster and ponders what it all means for the Irish provinces in the Champions Cup