Hook happy in midfield

James Hook insists he is happy continuing his role at centre despite talk of a move back to fly-half. [more]

Hook happy in midfield

James Hook insists he is happy continuing his role at centre despite talk of a move back to fly-half.

The 25-year-old toured South Africa with the Lions as a No10 last summer but then spent the majority of the season playing in midfield for both club and country.

Hook lost out to youngster Dan Biggar for the fly-half berth at the Ospreys early on in the year and was employed mainly in the No12 shirt in the region’s Magners League winning season.

Wales coach Warren Gatland choose to play him at full back in Lee Byrne’s absence during the autumn internationals but then switched him to outside centre for the opening weekend of the Six Nations.

Hook excelled in that first-round encounter at Twickenham and was subsequently selected in the same position for the remainder of the tournament.

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There has been plenty of speculation that Hook is still keen to return to the outside-half role, with numerous papers linking him with a move away from the Liberty Stadium, but the man himself says he is enjoying the new challenge at centre and will continue to respect the wishes of his regional coaches.

"It took a little bit of time to adjust but I enjoyed it," said Hook, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury but is expected back in action by the end of the month.

"I'm now aiming to get back fit and on the field for the Ospreys and, hopefully, put myself in contention for Wales.

"There's not really been any discussions about positions. Dan (Biggar) did well last season at 10 with myself at 12 and Bish (Andrew Bishop) at 13. But that's the coaches' decision and I'll listen to them and do what they say.

"The season did end nicely, both internationally and with the Ospreys. I really enjoyed it, especially the back end of the season over the last four or five months. Hopefully I can take that form into the new season and carry on where I left off."

As for the Ospreys, head coach Sean Holley made the region’s position clear during the off-season when he stated that he saw no need to fix something that wasn’t broken.

The Swansea-based side are more than happy with the partnership Biggar and Hook are developing at 10 and 12 respectively and they are convinced it can go from strength to strength this season.

“I wouldn’t say we will use him exclusively at 12 because he plays a lot at 10, but I think we made our position pretty clear on it last year,” Holley told the Western Mail.

“My paymaster is the Ospreys and we have to satisfy our fans. It was a great success for us with Daniel and him at 10 and 12.

“At the same time as we are doing our best for Welsh rugby, we also need to do what is best for the Ospreys.

“James has played particularly well at 12 and the skills you need at 12 are very similar to the ones you need at 10.

“He has been quoted as saying he’s happy playing at 12. We played him there pretty much the majority of last season and he was named Welsh player of the year, so what does that say?”

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