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Welsh Rugby
Hook 'frustrated' by Wales snub
ESPN Staff
July 28, 2013
James Hook on duty for Perpignan © Getty Images
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Perpignan's James Hook has admitted he finds his omission from Wales "hard to understand" but he would still "love" to turn out for the national side.

Hook started against the Barbarians in 2012 but before that, the last time he got the nod from the outset in a Test match was against Australia during the 2011 World Cup. He played just 22 minutes of the 2013 Six Nations and found himself completely out of the British & Irish Lions reckoning.

But Hook, who has 70 caps for Wales, has been performing well for Perpignan. He started their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Stade Francais last April and has been knocking over the points in the Top 14 on a regular basis. Despite his consistent performances, he does not seem to be in Warren Gatland's plans for Wales with the likes of Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland ahead of him in the pecking order.

Although Wales had a huge contingent on Lions duty in June, Hook was not included for Wales' summer tour to Japan. He admits he is finding it hard to understand the snub, but is still focused on wearing the red shirt of Wales once again.

"I just hope I still have a future," Hook told the Rugby Paper. "I'm not sure what I have to do. It's anyone's guess what the coaches are thinking. Maybe I'll get another chance."

Wales' James Hook crosses for a try, Wales v England, World Cup warm-up Test, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, August 13, 2011
Crashing over for Wales © Getty Images
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And Hook admits his meagre showing during the 2013 Six Nations is "difficult to swallow". He continued: "The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. It's quite hard to understand. I have to get on with it and knuckle down to play my very best for Perpignan. I have thought about the future and I'd love to play for Wales again. To say I don't want to play for my country would be silly because I really do."

But although he appears to be fighting an uphill battle to get back into the Wales mix, he is not contemplating calling time on his Test career. "You talk to the boys who have retired early because of injury and they would all give their right arm to play international rugby. I'm 28. I'm just coming into my prime," Hook said. "I believe I can still offer a lot. I've been fortunate enough to play 70-odd times which is a great achievement but it's two years now since I last got into the starting team.

"I'm here if they want me. If I felt I wasn't talented enough, I might think differently. I want to play for Wales again very badly but it's out of my hands.

"You can't give up hope but I'm not going to let it dominate my thinking. Perpignan are back in the Heineken Cup and I'm concentrating on doing my very best to make sure we make the most of the challenges ahead."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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