Ospreys 34 Bristol 3: Hook's try hits new high note

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The Independent Online

Wales' love affair with James Hook deepened as the rising star propelled the Ospreys into the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals with a moment of majesty that evoked memories of the king himself, Barry John.

Never were comparisons between the 21-year-old centre and the man who played nearly 40 years ago more obvious than in the try that put the Ospreys on their way at the Liberty Stadium. Struggling to shake off a second-string Bristol, despite a try by Justin Marshall, the home side saw Hook bounce out of Josh Taumalolo's challenge, step inside Sam Cox, beat Marko Stanojevic with a subtle dummy and outpace Craig Short to the line.

The home side's coach, Lyn Jones, said: "He's been doing that since he was young. It was an excellent try. He ran just like Barry John - it's about keeping the ball in two hands and showing it, just like John did. I fell for that dummy pass from the touchline."

Gavin Henson, himself subject to national adulation in recent seasons, was limited to half an hour off the bench after reports that he stormed out of training in midweek. The challenge for Jones is how to combine the talents of Henson and Hook in Europe, starting this weekend at Calvisano.

The coach said: "We had discussed bringing on Gavin at outside-half this week. The biggest thing was to get James and Gavin playing together."

Bristol's head coach, Richard Hill, said: "We were let down by a silly patch 10 minutes into the second half. Apart from that I was pretty pleased. There were some brave performances, especially from the youngsters."

Ospreys: Tries Marshall, Hook, Bennett, Walker, Williams; Conversions Hook 3; Penalty Hook. Bristol: Penalty Strange.

Ospreys: L Byrne; N Walker (A Bishop, 64), T Selley, J Hook, J Vaughton; S Connor (G Henson, 53), J Marshall (M Roberts, 53); D Jones (capt), H Bennett (B Williams, 69), C Griffiths (A Millward, 67), L Bateman, AW Jones (B Cockbain, 53), F Tiatia (A Lloyd, 53), R Jones, S Tandy.

Bristol: L Arscott; M Stanojevic, S Cox, J Taumalolo (A Reay, 50), W Pozzebon; J Strange (G Griffiths, 69), B O'Riordan (G Nicholls, 65); A Clarke (M Irish, 50), D Blaney (S Nelson, 21), W Thompson, M Sambucetti (D Attwood, 60), S Hohneck, G Lewis, A To'oala, C Short (capt).

Referee: T Hayes (Wales).

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