James Hook rues poor World Cup form for Wales

James Hook
James Hook has won 59 Wales caps since his debut in Argentina in 2006

James Hook says his move to Perpignan was the "best thing" after admitting he suffered a poor World Cup.

The 26-year-old completed his move from Ospreys to the French giants on his return from New Zealand after Wales' fourth placed finish at the World Cup.

But despite Wales' heroics, Hook revealed: "From a personal point of view, I didn't have a great World Cup.

"And probably being stuck here wouldn't have helped so going over there was the best thing for me."

Hook will miss Wales' Millennium Stadium showdown against Australia on Saturday, 3 December as non-Welsh clubs do not have to release their Welsh internationals for games, such as the Wallabies visit to Cardiff, outside the International Rugby Board window, unless individual contracts allow.

The versatile back has reassured coach Warren Gatland that his availability for IRB sanctioned games such as Six Nations fixtures and autumn Tests is not in question.

Hook suffered a disappointing World Cup - including missing six penalties and one conversion in three-and-a-half games - after starting the tournament at full-back and ending it playing fly-half.

The 59-times capped Welshman suffered a shoulder injury in their second pool game against Samoa and returned for a three-minute cameo as a replacement in Wales' World Cup final win over Ireland.

Hook played in his favoured fly-half position for their semi-final with France as he stood in for shoulder injury victim Rhys Priestland.

But Wales lost both the France clash and the bronze medal decider against Australia when Hook was at number 10.

"For me, personally going over there [to France] after the World Cup was the best thing," said Hook.

"I wasn't myself out there, but I'm in a better frame of mind now.

"I'm happy playing out in France. I'm enjoying it."

Hook impressed on his Perpignan debut against Toulouse and kicked all of the points in their Amlin Challenge Cup win over Exeter.

He lost on his return to Wales as the Newport Gwent Dragons beat Perpignan in Europe on Thursday in front of Wales coach Gatland.

But Hook confirmed he will not be availablewhen Wales host the Aussies in Cardiff - in Welsh record try-scorer Shane Williams' final Test.

"I was away for a long time at the World Cup and I missed a lot of games," said Hook.

"And they pay my wages now and it's not an IRB fixture so a lot of French based and English boys will probably suffer.

"It's in my contract that I get released for IRB games if selected and fit.

"The biggest disappointment is that I have played my last game with Shane.

"He's a good friend of mine. It would have been a lovely occasion. He's a cracking player and a cracking bloke.

"He has been a great servant to Wales player and I'm sure he'll have a great send-off.

"I could probably do with concentrating on my own game."

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