World Cup 2015: James Hook 'shocked' by Wales selection

James Hook
James Hook made his Wales debut against Argentina in 2006
Rugby World Cup warm-up: Wales v Ireland
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Kick-off: 14:30 BST, 8 August
Coverage: Live on BBC One Wales, iPlayer, the BBC Sport website, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru

James Hook says he was shocked but thrilled to be selected at fly-half for Wales' World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.

The Gloucester stand-off will partner scrum-half Mike Phillips for the first time in a Wales shirt since 2011.

Hook, 30, has made 77 Wales appearances, but has not started an international since November 2014.

"I'm just delighted, I could play the game tonight - it can't come around quick enough," he said.

"I'm chuffed, they told us the team and I was a little bit shocked, but at the same time just thrilled."

Coach Warren Gatland has named a team with four uncapped players to face Ireland at the Millennium Stadium.

Ross Moriarty, Tyler Morgan, Eli Walker and Dominic Day will make their Wales debuts on Saturday, in a side captained by Scarlets centre Scott Williams.

Mike Phillips and James Hook
James Hook and Mike Phillips started the match when Wales beat France to clinch the 2008 Six Nations Grand Slam.

Hook and Phillips boast 170 caps between them, and are among six British and Irish Lions players named in the 23 for the game.

"Me and Mike have got a lot of experience together and hopefully we can do a job ourselves and help the young boys around us and hopefully see the team through," added Hook.

"It's going to be a great occasion. The atmosphere will be bouncing and the players will be well up for it."

They were also half-back partners at the Ospreys before both moved to play club rugby in France.

Gatland said that Hook's transfer was partly responsible for his fall from favour with Wales.

"It's been hard on James and I think part of the reason James hasn't been having a frequent place in the team is the decision he made to leave Wales and go to France with Perpignan and then wasn't selected as 10 but at full-back," said the Wales coach.

"And then [after moving to] Gloucester, probably the first half of the season he wasn't playing particularly well, but he improved towards the end of the season.

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"I think it's a great chance for him."

Hook is determined to make the most of his opportunity to impress in the first of three warm-up games before Wales play Uruguay in the World Cup on Sunday 20 September.

"The squad will be reduced next week," added Hook.

"Shaun Edwards mentioned yesterday it's not often your first game of the season is the most important game of the season and the boys will be taking that on board, especially by myself, and hopefully I can go out there and give a performance."

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