Hook's move to centre duty baffles the Welsh

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hailed as Wales's next great No 10 one weekend; chosen as No 12 the next. Gareth Jenkins made more than a few hands scratch heads yesterday when he selected James Hook at inside centre for Saturday's match against the Pacific Islands.

The bewilderment was caused not just by the young Osprey's scintillating home debut against the Australians last weekend - he came on for the injured Stephen Jones and turned the game around - but also by Jenkins' apparent plea to Hook's region to give him more game time in the playmaker's role. "It would be ideal now for him to have a lot more starts and play more rugby at outside-half," he was quoted as saying after the thrilling draw with the Wallabies - although by yesterday he had seemingly juggled his priorities.

"James is undoubtedly a talented player who plays 10 and 12 very well," Jenkins said. "But we want to keep our choices open and keep James in our options for both places. We might not know for two years which is his best position."

Ceri Sweeney will be given the outside-half role and that of goalkicker as well, despite Hook's five-out-of-five spectacular on Saturday. "Ceri's success rate is incredible," explained Jenkins. "And we believe the No 10 should be the kicker."

In fact, Jenkins has made 14 changes. Only Kevin Morgan, the full-back, is still in the starting line-up. The loosehead Duncan Jones takes over as captain.

Comments