No regrets for Hook
James Hook will make his final appearance of Wales' autumn Test series on Friday night insisting he has no regrets about moving to French club rugby.
Wales coach Warren Gatland cannot consider Hook for next week's eagerly-awaited finale against Australia because it falls outside the International Rugby Board autumn window and Perpignan have first call on his services for their Top 14 appointment with Clermont Auvergne.
Hook does not have a clause in his Perpignan contract that permits release in addition to recognised international weekends, which has occasionally frustrated Gatland and often raised question marks outside the Wales camp about any long-term Test future.
But Hook is determined to leave a reminder of his ability prior to this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship when he pulls on the Wales number 10 shirt against Millennium Stadium visitors Tonga.
"For me, it's been great," said 28-year-old Hook, who is currently in his third season of a recently extended long-term deal at Stade Aime Giral.
"I've no regrets about it (moving to France), it has enhanced my rugby and I think I'm a better player because of it.
"It has given me the experience of playing in a different league and got me out of my comfort zone, having to speak a different language and so on.
"In an ideal world you want to be available for next week. I'm not, so I just get on with it."
Hook will this week make a first fly-half appearance - his favourite position - for Wales since the 2011 World Cup third place play-off defeat against Australia in Auckland.
His ability as a centre or full-back, Hook's current role with Perpignan, highlights him as a player of rare skill and ability. When Wales are at full-strength, though, those positions are held by players like Rhys Priestland, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts and Leigh Halfpenny.
"I didn't know what to expect this week with selection, injuries and things," added Hook, who will win his 73rd cap. "Whatever position I had been named in I would have been happy.
"I like playing 10, but just to get back starting in the Welsh jersey is the main thing because it has been a while.
"I have had a bit of experience the last couple of weeks coming off the bench (against South Africa and Argentina), but it's going to be nice to start against Tonga.
"You ask any player and they will tell you they want to be in that starting team all of the time. You do get frustrated at times, but you have to keep your head and keep working.
"I am just pleased to have an opportunity on Friday night. I have never given up hope, but the way the team has played the last couple of years it's been very difficult to get back in that starting line-up.
"But I have always had hope and I want to play for Wales until the day I retire."
Despite Gatland making 11 changes, Wales will start as red-hot favourites to beat Tonga for the seventh time in a row, with Hook relishing the opportunity that awaits.
"I want to do the basics, everything well, and not try too hard because it can go the other way," he said.
"I want to do what's right for the team. It would be nice to put a good performance in, for the team and individually.
"Obviously, it's going to be physical. They (Tonga) will come out all guns blazing. I saw them against France, when a couple of my Perpignan team-mates (centre Sione Piukala and prop Sona Taumalolo) were playing for Tonga.
"The prop was sent off. He's a really quiet and nice boy off the pitch, but when he crosses the gain-line, he's different. It's like he flicks a switch, and it just shows the competitive nature of him.
"If we don't do the basics well, then we will make it difficult for ourselves."