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Daily Mail - Wales coach Gatland wants to hear Hook

Discussion in '2018 NatWest Six Nations' started by Rugby News, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Rugby News

    Rugby News Guest

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  3. RC

    RC Guest

    Wales coach Gatland wants to hear Hook
    Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes James Hook already has everything required to challenge Dan Carter as one of the world's best fly-halves - except a big mouth.

    And he has urged Hook, quiet and homely off the field, to become more demonstrative and commanding on it as Wales look to build on last weekend's 26-19 victory over England.

    Hook was named man of the match for his performance at Twickenham, which included a faultless kicking display and the electric break to set up Lee Byrne for the try which sparked Wales' stunning comeback.

    [​IMG]Hook in action against England at Twickenham

    "He is a player with an enormous amount of potential and skill," said Gatland.

    "The fact he kicked his goals was as important as anything.

    "If Wales had kicked their goals against Fiji at the World Cup they would have made the quarter-finals.

    "I thought the skill he showed to create the try for Lee Byrne - the footwork, the slight of hand - was quite sensational.

    "As a 10 I think he will get even better. But he needs to get a bit more vocal and dominate the game in terms of his demeanour on the field."

    The importance of Hook taking control has been heightened by the personalities around him, with Gavin Henson at inside centre also not renowned as an on-field bawler.

    Inside him, scrum-half Mike Phillips is relatively inexperienced at Test level and Wales need Hook to direct operations with confidence.

    The one asset England's rising fly-half star Danny Cipriani boasts in spades is a confidence to shout orders at his more senior players, something Phil Vickery believes has come from working closely with the likes of Lawrence Dallaglio.

    Hook's performance at Twickenham may have helped turn the game for Wales and Carter himself has been quoted this week saying the Ospreys fly-half "can definitely be as good as me".

    But it was not enough to save Hook from criticism as Gatland and Shaun Edwards delivered their blunt assessment of what was, in the main, a poor team display.

    Wales were never at the races in the first half and Gatland put some of that responsibility on Hook's shoulders for too often sacrificing possession with poor tactical kicks.

    Gatland is fostering a new, less comfortable culture in the Wales camp and he admits some players have been taken aback by the level of criticism aimed at a winning team.

    But he said: "You can't just say to the players: 'Fantastic, well done, pat on the back and now let's train'. You need to improve them from week to week," he said.

    "The message at this level is: 'You have to be accurate'.

    "Hook kicked one out on the full, he had a cross kick that put us under all sorts of pressure.

    "Unless we criticise and point out faults, how do you get better?"

    Hook had no problem accepting the pointers from Gatland. He already knew Wales' first-half performance at Twickenham was not something to be proud of.

    "A lot of the criticism was justified because we didn't play well in the first half, we made a lot of errors, gave away a lot of silly penalties and let England into the game," said Hook.

    "The boys know we made a lot of mistakes and were quite lucky to win that game. It will not do us any harm, a little bit of criticism.

    "But we go forward with a lot of confidence.

    "In the second half we did what we do best, which is keep the ball in hand, run and use our backs outside. England couldn't cope with it. We only had two opportunities and we took them."

    Wales tackle Scotland on Saturday and while a first victory at Twickenham is still fresh in the mind, so is the pain of last year's 21-9 mauling by the Scots at Murrayfield.

    Chris Paterson, who today returned to the Scotland side at full-back, kicked seven penalties as the Welsh set-piece crumbled.

    "It is brilliant to have won at Twickenham after 20 years and we are delighted - but right now we have to look ahead to Scotland," said Hook.

    "This is a big Six Nations for us now after making a great start and if we lose to Scotland it will all go down the pan.

    "I played against Scotland for the first time last year, they are a hugely physical side and we lost.

    "I am expecting a big challenge. Chris Paterson is a great goalkicker and we don't want to be giving away silly penalties like we did against England."


    Ok, so this was bound to come up again.

    Gatland has now declared that Hook has everything he needs to be as good as Carter except for a big mouth.

    But that's not what i found interesting about this article.

    What i found intriguing was this quote:

    I hear quite plain and clear that there is quite a high level of blame being placed on Stephen Jones and to say that he will only get better at 10 means he plans to keep him there.

    I don't know if he's officially stated before now that Stephen will no longer be 1st choice number 10, but to hear this it seems quite evident that James has the spot and will have to play very bad rugby to lose it.

    I'm chuffed that James is now first choice, he's been up and coming for a while and we can't keep him in stephen's shadow anymore. He's doing more for wales than stephen would at this point.

    What are your views?
    Any Stephen Jones' fans or James Hook critics out there that aren't happy with him being 1st choice No.10 now?
  4. evs

    evs Guest

    Hook is having a great tournament but you have to repsect what Jones did when he came on and steadied the ship on Saturday. Hopefully the competition for places will improve them both as players. Just for the record I'd put Hook ahead.
  5. stormmaster1

    stormmaster1 Guest

    But Gatland will want to keep both players playing well. competition for places will only help that and it also means you have an extra dimension for the fly half later in the game if necessary.
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