Hook to start at No 10
James Hook will wear Wales’ fabled number 10 shirt for the first time in almost two years on Saturday - and he does not intend to disappoint.
Wales coach Warren Gatland admits he has made “a brave call” in handing Hook the playmaker’s role against RBS 6 Nations opponents Scotland at Murrayfield.
Hook’s first fly-half start at any level of rugby this season comes with 96 times-capped Stephen Jones still shaking off the effects of a bang to his neck received in an attempted tackle on England full-back Ben Foden four days ago.
Jones, who missed training yesterday and today, will be on the bench in Edinburgh, with two other changes following the defeat against England seeing Lee Byrne restored at full-back instead of Hook and Ryan Jones replacing injured number eight Andy Powell.
Hook, 25, is viewed in the mould of gifted Wales fly-half predecessors like Barry John, Phil Bennett and Jonathan Davies, a genial game-breaker whose selection will see glasses raised in rugby clubhouses from Anglesey to Abergavenny.
But the pressure is now on to perform, steering Wales through a testing Murrayfield mission against a Scotland side making giant strides under Andy Robinson’s coaching direction.
“The most important thing is we perform as a team in Scotland,” said Ospreys star Hook, who will win his 49th cap.
“I believe in my own ability. I know what I can do, and if I have that belief and confidence in the players around me as well, there is no reason why we can’t do well.”