Hook: Let's get physical
James Hook is confident Wales possess what is required to cope with the inevitable physical onslaught that awaits them from world champions South Africa next month.
The Springboks will begin their world title defence against Wales in Wellington on September 11. And after absorbing everything England could throw at them last weekend through a memorable defensive display that underpinned a 19-9 home win in Cardiff, Hook believes Wales can head to New Zealand high on belief.
"We have played South Africa a lot of times and come close to winning. But we showed against England last Saturday we can cope with that physicality. England didn't finish off their chances, so we've got to cut the line-breaks out that were made against us," he said.
"We've got the players to win big games, though, and the boys will definitely go into Saturday's match against Argentina with a lot of confidence. If we can get two big wins under our belt going into the South Africa game, it would be massive for us."
Hook will win his 54th cap in Saturday's final World Cup warm-up encounter against Millennium Stadium visitors Argentina, having been charged by Wales coach Warren Gatland with pulling the strings from fly-half.
Last weekend against England, he delivered a match-winning display from full-back, scoring the only try of an intense contest and kicking two long-range penalties that sealed Wales' victory.
The 26-year-old also provides Gatland with options in both centre positions, making him a priceless commodity for Wales as they build towards World Cup pool appointments with South Africa, Samoa, Namibia and Fiji.
"I am used to it now," added Hook, pondering his latest switch of roles. "It's exciting to be back at 10 this week, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going. The French game (Hook's last Wales outing at number 10 in March) wasn't a great performance by myself or the team, but it is not about looking back.
"I've had a few starts at full-back now. It takes the breath away a bit with all the running and stuff, but other than that I feel comfortable there. And if Warren feels 12 is the position for me, so be it. I played the last couple of years with the Ospreys at 12.
"It's not up to me to pick and choose. Whatever position I am called on to fill, I will try to fill it to the best of my ability. It's important to me to play well for Wales, and I am hugely excited about the World Cup."