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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 September 2007, 06:17 GMT 07:17 UK
Wales backing Hook to bounce back
James Hook could miss out on a starting spot against Australia
James Hook could miss out on a starting spot against Australia
Wales v Australia
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 15 September
Kick-off: 1400 BST
Live coverage on BBC Radio 5live & the BBC Sport website

Wales assistant coach Nigel Davies says young fly-half James Hook will return stronger than ever from his poor World Cup debut against Canada on Sunday.

The 22-year-old failed to spark his team in Nantes and his intercepted pass handed Canada a shock lead.

Hook made way for Stephen Jones, who sparked a recovery to win 42-17 and is favourite to wear the number 10 jersey against Australia on Saturday.

"I'm sure James will learn a lot from this," said assistant coach Davies.

"He's a class act and you don't suddenly lose that overnight just because of one game.

"This is all part of the learning process and growing up.


"But he will have to swallow this one and make sure he comes back stronger by learning from the mistakes.

"James has been fine since Sunday but he's not the only one who has had to deal with selection issues.

"If you look at the team selected for last week, there were a number of big names left out but they have all responded brilliantly.

"Of course people are disappointed but they still contributed."

Wales name their team on Thursday following their return to their Vale of Glamorgan headquarters outside Cardiff.

The turn-around against Canada sparked by the second-half arrival of Jones and Gareth Thomas seems likely to earn both starting spots against Australia in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

That would leave Kevin Morgan on the bench, while Hook may also have to bide his time if head coach Gareth Jenkins opts to go with Jones at fly-half and stick with Sonny Parker - a try scorer against Canada - at inside centre.

The winner of Saturday's clash in Cardiff is likely to top Pool B and theoretically earn an easier passage in the quarter-finals.

South Africa, England, or perhaps even Samoa from Pool A lie in wait in the knock-out stage.

Stephen Jones said: "Facing Australia is a very important game.

"I wouldn't say it is make-or-break at this early stage but it's a huge game for us.

"We are up against a good side who are in form, so for us it is going to be a challenge.

"We have set standards against Canada, but against Australia we have to raise the bar again.

"In every game in this group we have to make sure we perform to a better standard."

Wales 42-17 Canada
09 Sep 07 |  Welsh
Australia 91-3 Japan
08 Sep 07 |  Rugby Union
Wallaby wonders: Aussie rugby
26 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
16 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Tom Shanklin's column
04 Sep 07 |  Welsh


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