Scotland 6 Wales 24: Hook pulling Welsh strings

Murrayfield match-winner James Hook admitted “there is always pressure” after making strong claims to keep Welsh rugby’s most revered shirt in World Cup year.

Hook booted 14 points on his first Test start at fly-half since 2009 and created one of wing Shane Williams’ two tries as Wales kick-started their RBS Six Nations campaign with a 24-6 victory over Scotland.

And Hook, who will join French big-spenders Perpignan later this year in a deal worth more than £1m, could now take some shifting from the role he covets on a long-term basis.

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“I was aware of the pressure throughout the week, but I didn’t look at it at all, to be honest,” he said. “It was just about going out and believing in my own ability. I got into the game as early possible, got over the gain-line and set a platform for myself.

“It was nice to start a game at 10. You are aware of the publicity around you, but there always is pressure in Wales when you are wearing that shirt.”

The 25-year-old, who is set to win his 50th cap when Wales meet Italy in a fortnight’s time, underpinned a 16-0 lead midway through the first half.

And even when Wales saw lock Bradley Davies and full-back Lee Byrne sent to the sin-bin in quick succession, the 13 men had a big enough advantage to ensure that Scotland were always chasing rather than dominating.

Hook, selected ahead of Stephen Jones for the Edinburgh mission, pulled the strings as Wales recorded their biggest Six Nations away win since trouncing Scotland 46-22 en route towards a Grand Slam in 2005.