Jones 'injury' opens Wales No 10 door for Hook

James Hook is on record as saying he wants to play outside-half for Perpignan when he starts a new rugby life in France next season. If he produces one of his occasional stellar performances in Edinburgh this weekend, the Welshman will be able to drive a very hard bargain. Hook will wear the fabled red No 10 shirt against Scotland, having been picked ahead of Stephen Jones, and if he makes the most of his opportunity, his country's Six Nations campaign may yet be revived.

Jones suffered a heavy blow in the opening minutes of last Friday's defeat by England, and the official line from the Red Dragon camp yesterday was that he was still suffering from a "bump on the neck" – hence his demotion to the bench. But there had been a public clamour for a change at outside-half from the moment the match ended, and yesterday's announcement, together with that of Lee Byrne's return at full-back, was not surprising.

Warren Gatland, the head coach, said he had considered running the gifted young Scarlets stand-off Rhys Priestland in the pivot role. "There was a long debate," he said. "Rhys has been the best attacking 10 in Wales recently, but to put him under pressure at Murrayfield wasn't fair for a first start. It's a brave call playing James there because he hasn't started at outside-half all season. But he's been wanting to play there for a while and he's a quality performer.

"The key line for him is to be a creator for other people. He has had a tendency to take on a little bit too much himself, to run when perhaps he could have passed. We want him to be natural and instinctive, but also to make the right decisions. Maybe it's about being slightly more conservative and taking fewer risks."

As expected, Ryan Jones will return to the back row for the injured Andrew Powell, while the inexperienced Scarlets scrum-half Tavis Knoyle replaces Dwayne Peel on the bench. Gatland is confident that Morgan Stoddart, the Welsh try-scorer against England, will be fit to start.

France, meanwhile, have moved Damien Traille to centre for the exceptional Maxime Mermoz, whose shoulder trouble has forced him out of the tournament. Clément Poitrenaud will play at full-back in Ireland on Sunday.

One Frenchman unlikely to feature is the brick-outhouse centre Mathieu Bastareaud, dropped by the coach Marc Lièvremont after the autumn internationals. "Even if I've always believed in his potential, I'm here to select competitive players and responsible guys," said Lièvremont. "I am not sure Mathieu fills one of those two conditions." Ouch.

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map