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Hook closing in on comeback

James Hook is on course to make his playing return before the Ospreys launch their Heineken Cup campaign next month.

The Wales star has been sidelined since undergoing shoulder surgery in June, but he hopes to be available for Ospreys' Magners League derby clash against the Scarlets on October 2.

The Ospreys then face a Heineken Cup opener away to Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon six days later.

"The next couple of weeks' training should be pretty intense now, and hopefully I can show that I am ready to play again," said the Wales centre, a key player during last year's British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

"I am working hard in the gym, and I am looking forward to getting some rugby sessions in to really test my shoulder.

"The target I was set was the start of October, and that's definitely looking achievable now, which is great."

Hook played for Wales at home to South Africa in early June, but then had his operation and missed their two-Test New Zealand tour in the hope he would be fit for Ospreys' early European games and Wales' November schedule that features appointments with Australia, South Africa, Fiji and the All Blacks.

"It's a long season, and when the time comes around I will hopefully be in peak condition," he added.

"It's such a long season that the extra month off at the start of it should really benefit me in the long run."

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