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Cardiff Blues may consider fresh James Hook bid

Wales and Ospreys star James Hook
James Hook has become Dan Biggar's Ospreys understudy

Cardiff Blues boss Dai Young will not rule out another bid for James Hook after Ospreys' counterpart Andrew Hore spurned a bid for the player.

Young said: "We enquired about James Hook, yes. I phoned Andrew Hore and asked would James be available for us to talk to and would they release him.

"They said no, they want to keep hold of him."

In response an Ospreys spokesman reiterated: "James is contracted to us and we will make no further comment."

Hook has been relegated to the role of Dan Biggar's fly-half understudy at the Ospreys and has mostly played centre this season.

606: DEBATE

At the same time Blues' Australian summer recruit Sam Norton-Knight has struggled to impress and they have signed Dan Parks from Glasgow for next season.

Young says he had to "jump at" the chance to sign Parks when it became clear there were no top quality Welsh fly-halves on the market.

Asked if he might revisit interest in Hook when the player's current contract expires at the end of next season, Young said: "Of course we would.

"We are all looking at each others' players and if a player isn't playing in the position that he preferred or whatever, we are all looking at alternatives.

"But I can stress I know that James is very happy down at the Ospreys and he's enjoying being part of a very successful team and a very successful environment.

"I've got nothing and no reason to feel that he'd want to leave that environment, but that question was asked and we were given the answer."

Biggar, 20, has become one of Welsh rugby's hottest young properties, a status Hook, 24, enjoyed when he arrived in Test rugby in 2006.

Hook seemed a strong challenger to Stephen Jones during Wales' 2008 Grand Slam in which coach Warren Gatland alternated the two in his starting XVs.

But now Biggar is 32-year-old Scarlet Jones' main rival going into the Six Nations while despite his publicly-aired desire to play at fly-half Hook finds his path blocked at regional level.

Biggar is so highly thought of at the Ospreys that following their 62-7 Heineken Cup win in Viadana last month, forwards coach Jonathan Humphreys said: "He is becoming the glue that holds this team together."

We have got a lot of trust now amongst the regions and we are certainly not trying to poach each others' players

Blues boss Dai Young

Hook's predicament prompted Young to make a direct approach to Hore.

Young added: "We have got a lot of trust now amongst the regions and we are certainly not trying to poach each others' players and do things behind each others' backs.

"That's why the approach was made direct to Andrew Hore and if Andrew Hore had made the same approach to me he would have had the same answer.

"Of course you want to keep your best players. Who knows where most players' future lie, basically?

"He's contracted there for another couple of seasons so who knows. But that's something we've got to worry about further down the line.

"We've got to worry about next year and that's what we're planning for now."

Young says Norton-Knight could have to make way for Blues fly-half rivals Ceri Sweeney and Dai Flanagan as the rest of the season unfolds.

But he says the Wallaby is not solely responsible for the predicament in which he finds himself.

"I don't want to put all the blame on Sam," said Young.

"I think he's getting better and better with every game, but he's not quite where he wants to be or where we want to be and I think that's fair to say."



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see also
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union


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