Wales not far away says Hook

Lions tourist James Hook believes Wales are close to producing the kind of rugby that will be very hard for any side to stop. [more]

Wales not far away says Hook

Lions tourist James Hook believes Wales are close to producing the kind of rugby that will be very hard for any side to stop.

Warren Gatland’s men put in a superb second-half display against Grand Slam favourites France on Friday night as tries from fellow Lions Leigh Halfpenny and Shane Williams brought them within touching distance of a remarkable victory.

But a frustrating opening 40 minutes in which Wales handed the visitors a 20-point lead courtesy of two interception tries ultimately left Hook and co with too much to do in an enthralling Round 3 encounter.

"It’s becoming a habit for us but we know we have to start well. We said all week that we needed to get a good start but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” said Hook, who played his third straight international in the No13 shirt having toured South Africa as a fly-half with the 2009 Lions.

"We were poor throughout the first half but the second half was encouraging for us. We just left ourselves too much to do.

Google Ad Manager – In Article

"At half-time, we said we didn’t want to concede any more tries. We wanted to keep attacking and take the game to France – that was the one pleasing aspect of the performance. We have to build on that, keep digging in and battling on.

"If we can produce that second half performance for the full 80 minutes, we’re not that far away and someone will take a hiding.”

Hook threw the first of the interception passes early in the first half and the 24-year-old immediately held his hands up and admitted his mistake.

The Ospreys star made no attempt to shy away from the situation and even apologised to his team-mates and coaches before doing the same when addressing the media after the match.

"It was really disappointing and poor execution from myself. I was to blame and I apologised to Warren Gatland and the team at half time,” added Hook.

"I just want to play rugby and that involves throwing the ball around. When you throw the pass, you have to try and have the vision on when the opposition players spot the blitz.

"Unfortunately for myself and the team they caught me out. It was a bad start for us.

"You always try things in a game and sometimes it comes off and others it does not. I definitely felt I had to apologise.

"The way we play is high risk and high reward but it won’t ever change me from trying out new things as I feel it’s one of the strengths in my game.

"You just have to try and put it behind you and concentrate on the next game."

That next game comes in just under a fortnight’s time when Wales travel to Dublin to take on reigning Six Nations Champions Ireland at Croke Park.

Hook admits that facing the Grand Slam Champions in their own backyard is a particularly tough challenge but he has no doubt that this Welsh squad have the potential to return home with a famous win.

"We had enough chances to win the match against France. But they scored two tries from our mistakes whereas we scored two from playing rugby.

"It will be tough in Dublin but if we cut out our mistakes and start well against Ireland, we won’t be far away.

“We are hurting ourselves so we need to get our own house in order. Then we will take some stopping."

Previous story Lions star Ireland’s only doubt
Next story Tries end Bowe’s frustration