Injury-hit Wales recall Hook

2014-11-10 08:32
James Hook (Gallo Images)

London - Gloucester flyhalf James Hook was called into Wales's squad for their remaining November internationals on Sunday after fellow No 10 Dan Biggar suffered a groin strain in the 33-28 defeat by Australia.

The 29-year-old Hook has won 76 caps but has rarely enjoyed the full confidence of Wales coach Warren Gatland, with the New Zealander seemingly mistrustful of the playmaker's talent.

Meanwhile Hook's versatility - he has also played Test rugby at fullback and centre - has proved as much a hindrance as a help in establishing himself as a first-choice plyer while Gatland has been in charge of Wales.

However, Biggar's injury means Hook could be called upon for the Millennium Stadium clash with Fiji on Saturday.

"Hook will link up with the squad tomorrow (Monday) when they gather to prepare for Saturday's clash against Fiji," said a Welsh Rugby Union statement issued Sunday.

"No players have been released from the squad."

Full-back Leigh Halfpenny, meanwhile, suffered what has been described as "mild concussion" during the Wallabies clash.

But with Wales welcoming world champions New Zealand (November 22) and South Africa (November 29) to Cardiff later this month, ace goalkicker Halfpenny may well have been rested for the Fiji match in any event.

Liam Williams is in line to take over the No 15 shirt for the clash with the Pacific Islanders, who began their tour of Europe with a 40-15 defeat by France in Marseille.

Worryingly for Wales, Saturday's loss was their 10th successive defeat by Australia - one of their opponents in the pool stages of next year's World Cup.

The result also meant Wales had won just one out of 26 Tests against the 'big three' nations of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and suffered 21 straight defeats by the trio, since Gatland took charge in 2008.

Wales's display on Saturday was summed up by the performance of scrum-half Rhys Webb, who scored an early try but then gifted an interception score to Australia's outstanding fullback Israel Folau.

"I was happy with my try, but then I gave away a silly interception," said Webb. "If it had gone to Liam Williams it would have been a different story, but it is one of those things. Onwards and upwards."

Webb was replaced by the experienced Mike Phillips during the third quarter and Wales, in what is becoming an all-too familiar story for Gatland's men, gave up a lead in the closing minutes with Australia fly-half Bernard Foley kicking a late drop-goal and penalty.

"The forwards dug in well and a couple of scrums led to that fourth (Wales) try, but it was full-time before we knew it. We didn't have time to get back," Webb added.

"It is obviously very disappointing. We were so close again. There were little errors and missed tackles, which are fixable. We just need to touch up on a few bits and bobs."

Read more on:    james hook  |  rugby

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