KSA Shark ©

Hook moves to fullback

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Six Nations on 2 Feb 2011 at 16:32
Tagged with : , ,

James Hook will start at full-back for Wales in Friday night’s RBS 6 Nations opener against England at the Millennium Stadium.

And that means no place for his fellow British and Irish Lion Lee Byrne, who features among the replacements.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has paired Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies together in midfield, with Scarlets wing Morgan Stoddart waearing the number 14 shirt that was destined for Leigh Halfpenny until he suffered an ankle injury during training two days ago.

As expected, Ospreys props Paul James and Craig Mitchell fill the vacancies created by injured Lions Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, while Wasps’ Andy Powell packs down at number eight.

Former Wales captain Ryan Jones and scrum-half Dwayne Peel join Byrne on the bench, where 62-times capped Jonathan Thomas provides back-row cover.

There are seven changes from Wales’ autumn Test series finale against New Zealand in November, plus a positional switch as Hook moves from centre to full-back.

Roberts, meanwhile, returns after missing the entire autumn series through injury, and Wales’ record try-scorer Shane Williams has recovered from a dislocated shoulder to win his 76th cap.

But Gatland’s list of absentees comprises Halfpenny, Jenkins, Jones, George North, Tom Shanklin, Andrew Bishop and Richie Rees.

Wales will go into the England clash having lost six and drawn one of their last seven Tests. They have not won since the final weekend of last season’s Six Nations tournament.

Assistant coach Rob Howley said: “In the front row we have two guys who have done well at regional level and know each other’s games either side of our leader and the Lions hooker in Matthew Rees, so we are comfortable with the selection.

“The second row has been consistent in recent times and we have two good youngsters who have both been playing exceptionally well coming into the back row.

“Dan (Lydiate) was magnificent for us in the autumn and Sam (Warburton) has been going great for the Blues in Europe recently and there is a nice balance there with the ball-carrying abilities of Andy Powell completing the trio.

“This is going to be a battle of inches and not yards and we know if the pack can dominate like they did in our autumn games we are in with a good chance.

“We did debate selection at fly-half and elsewhere in the backs but we feel we have settled on the right pairing there with the experience they offer.

“Lee Byrne misses out solely by virtue of the fact he has had limited game time after injury and he will offer us some impact from the bench, which is fairly experienced in itself and will undoubtedly be utilised during the evening.

“We are playing England at the home of Welsh rugby at the start of the Rugby World Cup year so we are looking to get ourselves off to a great start and create some momentum and I can’t think of a better place for a Welshman to do that.”

Wales: J Hook (Ospreys); M Stoddart (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); P James (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets, capt), C Mitchell (Ospreys), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), A-W Jones (Ospreys), D Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues), A Powell (Wasps).

Replacements (tbc): R Hibbard (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), D Peel (Sale Sharks), R Priestland (Scarlets), L Byrne (Ospreys).

Article courtesy of Sportinglife


  • I’m so happy this is being shown over here!!!!!

    England by less than 10.

  • Comment 1, posted at 02.02.11 16:33:31 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • A year ago I thought Dan Biggar was going to be the next big thing in Welsh rugby. Now he can’t even get onto their bench.

  • Comment 2, posted at 02.02.11 16:45:10 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet (Comment 2) :

    Impressive bench ! 😎

  • Comment 3, posted at 03.02.11 08:53:30 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford Highlander
  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 3) True. I’m keen to see what Priestland is able to bring to the party on Friday night.

  • Comment 4, posted at 03.02.11 10:05:57 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet (Comment 4) :

    have been impressed with him for years….looking forward also to seeing his club mate Jonathan Davies as well.

    I’ve alway thought that Stephen Jones has run a bit lateral for me !

  • Comment 5, posted at 03.02.11 10:10:37 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford Highlander
  • @Hertford Highlander (Comment 5) : I kinda like Bishop but he’s injured. On their day, the Welsh backline could be spectacular. I hope they chow the Lillywhites. With some quality possession it shouldn’t be too difficult to expose some of their usually very avg opponents like Tindall, Hape, Cueto and Flood. But with the pack not looking that intimidating 50% possession is going to be hard to come by.

  • Comment 6, posted at 03.02.11 10:22:04 by beet Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • @beet (Comment 6) : 😉

  • Comment 7, posted at 03.02.11 10:23:31 by Hertford Highlander Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner Author
    Hertford Highlander
  • Yoohoo! All the 6N games airing on BBC. However, not such a big deal anymore, because I caved and got Sky after Rugbyzone bombed. 😀

    The German techie coming on Saturday to fix the DiSEqC thingamagic on the LNB, because Sky’s HD+ box can’t do the switching itself, whereas my El Cheapo brand FTA receiver can.

    But who cares? Come Saturday awie I’ll be ready for Super Rugby in high def 😎 😎 😎

  • Comment 8, posted at 04.02.11 11:37:28 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.