James Hook: Utility tag 'destroyed' Test career - Jonathan Davies

James Hook tackles England's Mike Brown in March 2013
Hook has appeared at centre, fly-half and full-back in his 75 cap career

Wales fly-half legend Jonathan Davies believes James Hook's Test career has been "destroyed" by his utility tag.

Gloucester's Hook, 29, has appeared at 10, centre and full-back for Wales in a 75-cap career.

But he is destined to play no part in Wales' autumn Tests after being omitted by coach Warren Gatland.

"Utility-wise that's destroyed his career. You either stick to 10 or 12 - he was never going to be full-back," Davies told Scrum V Extra Time.

Former Ospreys and Perpignan star Hook made his last Wales appearance as a replacement in their 38-16 defeat by South Africa in June, the first of two tour Test losses.

Wales face the Springboks again on Saturday, 29 November. Before that, they also host Australia, Fiji and New Zealand at Millennium Stadium, starting on Saturday, 8 November against the Wallabies.

Former Wales and Lions flanker, Scrum V pundit Martyn Williams
"Anscombe's going to be the third 10, I think, in the [Wales] squad when he comes over."

And while Davies has backed Hook - who made his Wales debut on tour in Argentina in 2006 - for the Wales 10 jersey in the past, he fears the game's changing nature has also played a part in Hook's omission.

"I just think he's played a lot of his rugby lateral. The game has changed a little bit," said Davies of the 2009 British and Irish Lions tourist.

"So if you look at someone like George Ford in Bath now, he plays straight, then lateral, and he plays rugby where you just fill the holes in a rugby league style because they've got [centre Kyle] Eastmond there."

Davies says Hook is not the only fly-half to have fallen foul of the game's evolution.

He added: "You can't crab across the field and play lateral and that's the problem.

"And if you look at a lot of outside halves, that has been the problem - they go lateral before they go straight.

New Cardiff Blues signing Gareth Anscombe qualifies for Wales through his mother
Cardiff Blues signing Gareth Anscombe qualifies for Wales through his mother

"Maybe that's been because of his [Hook's] versatility over the years, it's eventually gone against him."

Davies' fellow Scrum V pundit, and a former Wales team-mate of Hook's, Martyn Williams tipped Gareth Anscombe for a Wales call-up.

Anscombe has signed for Cardiff Blues from New Zealand side the Chiefs and is due to arrive in Wales on 9 November.

"Anscombe's going to be the third 10, I think, in the [Wales] squad when he comes over," said Williams.

"It's obviously been a big push by the union to get him into Wales as well.

"I feel for Hooky. When I was in the squad when he came through, he was so good and we had so little strength in depth, whenever anybody was ever injured - 12, 13 or 15 - [it was a case of] 'do you know what, Hooky can cover there'."

Top Stories