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Page last updated at 07:19 GMT, Thursday, 3 February 2011

Scott Gibbs labels Ospreys 'disgrace' over James Hook

Scott Gibbs
Gibbs captained the Ospreys in their first season of regional rugby

Scott Gibbs has labelled the Ospreys a "disgrace" for their handling of Perpignan-bound James Hook.

Ex-international Gibbs, who captained Ospreys in their first season, insists Hook has been at the wrong club.

Hook leaves for Perpignan on a three-year deal at the end of this season, and Gibbs claims the Ospreys failed to get the best out of the fly-half.

"James Hook has been so poorly managed by the Ospreys. It's an absolute disgrace," Gibbs told BBC Sport Wales.

Ospreys Elite Performance Director Andrew Hore defended the Ospreys position and insisted the position Hook' played 'didn't really matter' due to the bumper offer from France.

Gibbs, however, was outspoken in his criticism of the Ospreys' handling of Hook.

"He, especially against England, he has been the most consistent performer who has caused them all sorts of problems over the last three or four years," said Gibbs.

"I'd like to have seen him given more game time at number 10. He does try more and if you're going to try more then you will make mistakes.

"But he's not going to be comfortable in that number 10 position unless he's playing there week in, week out.

"He's a sensational player. People talk about "game management" but they don't know what they are talking about.

"I would much rather have a player like that [Hook] any day than not."

Dual code international Gibbs, who won 53 Wales rugby union caps between 1991 and 2001, has spent the past nine months living in South Africa, but returned to Wales for a visit in November 2010 and he retains close contact with European rugby through his role as a Cape Town-based TV pundit.

But Hore hit back insisting: "You talk to any punter in the pub and everyone has an opinion about selection and recruitment

"We know the figures that were being banded around and I don't think it would really matter whether he was playing 10, 12 or 15.

"I can't remember the last time he played for Wales at 10 and there was a lot of dialogue with James as to the reason why we used him in that position.

"We have utilised at 10. Scott can say whatever he likes but I don't think he has any more clout because he is a former Ospreys captain.

"People in the environment day-to-day have greater clout and it is a long time since Scott has been in the environment.

"I think regional rugby has evolved and changed a great deal and I don't think Scott is even living in the country.

"He is welcome here and can come and chat it through and if he has any concerns, as an ex-Osprey, we'd give him that respect."

Gibbs insists Hook, who has been the subject of intense debate over his best position, would have been better off at a different club.

"He is a rugby player. He has rugby in his veins, he understands peripheral vision and he understands the game," added Gibbs.

"People say he doesn't do this and he doesn't do that. Yes, sometimes he doesn't.

It hasn't been the right marriage. He was the right player at the wrong club

Scott Gibbs

"But it's incumbent on any organisation when you have a star player that you sit down and talk to him about how you want him to fit into the mould.

"It hasn't been the right marriage. He was the right player at the wrong club."

Gibbs is also critical of the Ospreys' attitude towards their fans and says the organisation lacks a "pulse".

But he also says he is keen to get back into Welsh rugby at some point and would be keen for a future role with the region.

"I would never give up on getting back into rugby. I have very simplistic tastes of what I expect from a team and you implement that.

"I would love to get back into it - maybe the Ospreys job.

"The biggest asset are the fans and if you alienate them by playing awful rugby then you haven't got a solid foundation on which to go forward.

"It's a travesty to see all that talent not performing. There's something not right there.

"It's very anaemic. I don't feel a pulse when I go there and watch the game. It's all very stilted.

"Certainly, as a player I played very passionately and I'd just like to see some of that."

In response to Gibbs' comments Hook said there was ''no bad blood" between him and the Ospreys.

"Obviously, I expressed I wanted to play outside-half and they played me in the centre and things," said Hook.

"But... it would be wrong of me to say I'm bitter or that's there any bad blood between me and the Ospreys. Because there isn't really.

"[Ospreys director of coaching] Scott Johnson sees me as a 12 and still sees me as a 12 and that's fair enough.

"There is a lot of reasons for my move to France. Obviously I want to play outside-half. It's just an adventure for me and my family. It's something different and it's a fresh start for us.

"Scott Gibbs is entitled to his comments and [I'll] take them on board."

See the full Scott Gibbs interview - Sport Wales BBC2 Wales, 2200 GMT on Thursday.

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