Hook seeks redemption

James Hook wants to put a disappointing World Cup behind him by starring for Wales in the 6 Nations. [more]

Hook seeks redemption

James Hook wants to put a disappointing World Cup behind him by starring for Wales in the 6 Nations.

The 2009 Lion had been in tremendous form prior to the global gathering in New Zealand last autumn but failed to shine Down Under.

Wales celebrated reaching the semi-finals for the first time in 24 years but Hook was nowhere his best as he lost out to Rhys Priestland for the No10 shirt.

Hook spent two games on the sidelines after picking up a shoulder injury in the win over Samoa, before under performing when injury ruled Priestland out of the defeats to France and Australia.

But the 26-year-old is now enjoying a new lease of with Perpignan in the Top 14 and is confident he can transfer his club form on to the international stage when Wales take on Ireland in Dublin this Sunday.

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“I was really disappointed with myself at the World Cup. Personally it didn't go well at all. It was frustrating to have worked so hard to get to a level of performance only to lose it just when it really mattered,” said Hook, who looks set to start for his country as Priestland struggles with a knee injury.

“My form was good going into the tournament but things didn't go right and it's something I would rather forget.

“I'm not making excuses for the World Cup, the coaches believed in me and I wasn't happy with what I produced. But moving to France after that was a help, it was a clean break for me. I wasn't sure what to expect but I'm definitely enjoying it.

“Things are not going too well for the team but I'm happy with the way I'm playing in France. I'm improving from playing week in week out in the one position and it gives you confidence. The more games you play there the better you get.”

Hook was part of the Wales training camp in Poland last week before flying back to France to feature in Perpignan’s 17-9 defeat to Brive.

His club commitments are now behind him, however, and his thoughts are fully focused on the Six Nations opener against Ireland.

Wales travel to Dublin in high spirits following their World Cup quarter-final win over Declan Kidney’s men but Hook knows they must now back up their promising performances Down Under with another huge showing at the Aviva Stadium before continuing the trend against Scotland, England, Italy and France.

“Expectations are going to be huge following the World Cup and we have to perform. We have the squad to do well and we have to aim to win it,” added Hook.

“The 6 Nations is all about momentum and starting with a good result. We have Ireland first up and that's a huge game which will be really tough.

“You would like to think we have a mental edge over them following the wins in the World Cup and last year's tournament but it can work both ways – Ireland will be fired up knowing that.

“I'd love to play for Wales again and I'd be happy to play any position – anyone would do the same to play for their country. I love playing in the Six Nations. It's a superb tournament and it's difficult to explain the feeling you get as a player in it.

“Winning the Grand Slam in 2008 is one of my best rugby memories and knowing that can be achieved is a huge motivation.”

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