Hook wants to snag No.10 shirt for good
February 9, 2011
Wales fly-half James Hook passes during training © Getty Images
James Hook is out to make sure his switch from fullback to fly-half for Wales is a permanent one after he was handed the chance to steer his nation out of their slump against Scotland this weekend.
Ospreys star Hook has been handed the No. 10 shirt for Wales' Murrayfield appointment. It will be his first Wales appearance in that position since the 2009 Six Nations, with 96 times-capped Stephen Jones dropping to the bench.
Hook's switch of position impacts elsewhere, as Lee Byrne is recalled in the fullback role his Ospreys colleague filled against England last week. One change up-front sees Ryan Jones featuring instead of injured No.8 Andy Powell.
But all the attention will be on Hook's role as playmaker and chief tactical controller after Wales' demoralising run of eight successive Tests without a win.
If he can produce a performance in Scotland, the position could be his for the rest of Six Nations and then through to the World Cup so Hook is eager to make an impression despite feeling the heat of the spotlight.
"Playing outside-half, there is going to be pressure," said the 25-year-old, who wins his 49th cap. "But I have confidence in myself to go out there and do the best I can. I am going to try to nail down that shirt - it all starts on Saturday.
"I have total confidence about playing there. It's just that I haven't started in the position for a long time. I have been selected, and now I have to get my head down and try to come up with a performance. We just have to believe in ourselves and not let outside influences affect us too much. We have to get our own house in order and focus on getting that win we need."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September