James Hook: Gloucester fly-half aims to boost Wales career

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James Hook reflects on his try-scoring debut for Wales in June 2006

James Hook hopes to boost his Wales career by working on parts of his game highlighted by their management.

The Gloucester 10 was left out of Wales' autumn squad, but recalled after Dan Biggar suffered a groin injury.

Hook, 29, has been asked by Welsh coaches to try and bring the Welsh backline into the game more.

"When you've got people like Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts, they want to get them... into the game," explained Hook.

However, the former Osprey is also keen to ensure he maintains the style that first earned him Test honours.

Neil Jenkins (left) and Robert Howley
Neil Jenkins (left) and Robert Howley were Wales half-back partners

BBC Sport Wales asked Hook what coach Warren Gatland wants of him.

Hook replied: "I deal a little bit more with Rob Howley and speak to him about things.

"In fairness when I got called in [during November] I had a chat with him and [kicking coach] Neil Jenkins about what he wants from me and probably squaring up a bit more.

"Obviously when you've got people like Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts, they want to get them boys into the game.

"So just maybe squaring up and getting them boys into the game, rather than cutting them out, I think.

"So when I come back here [Gloucester] I'm working really hard on that, but without taking too much of my game that I enjoy playing, as well, away from me."

Wales and Gloucester fly-half James Hook
"I want to see myself as myself and the way I have been since I was a young boy, growing up enjoying rugby, just going out there expressing myself and playing what I see in front of me."

Pundit Jonathan Davies reacted to Hook's initial omission from Wales' November squad by saying the player's utility tag had "destroyed" his career.

Hook, has played fly-half, full-back and centre for Wales and was an uncapped British and Irish Lion in South Africa in 2009.

His last cap came as a replacement in Wales' 34-16 defeat against New Zealand on 22 November.

The player, who moved from Perpignan to Kingsholm ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, says he wants to be acknowledged for his own style rather than likened to the contrasting fly-half types of legend Barry John and Neil Jenkins.

John was a free-runner who helped the Lions to a historic Test series win over New Zealand in 1971.

Jenkins epitomised modern-era stand-off play with a pragmatic approach during an 87-cap career from 1991-2002.

Hook said: "They are both great players in their own right, but I want to see myself as myself and the way I have been since I was a young boy, growing up enjoying rugby, just going out there expressing myself and playing what I see in front of me.

"I don't want to change that and I suppose the game has changed and you've got to abide by certain game plans.

"But I'm trying to stick to where I want to play, as well as what the coaches want."

You can watch the James Hook interview on Sport Wales. The programme is broadcast every Friday, BBC Two Wales at 19:00 GMT, or on iPlayer for seven days after transmission.

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