Wales’ Hook wary of Paterson threat

James Hook believes Wales will have to improve their discipline against Scotland on Saturday or risk being punished by recalled goalkicker Chris Paterson.

Ospreys outside-half Hook produced a composed all-round display as he guided Wales to a dramatic 26-19 win over England last weekend that saw them start this season’s Six Nations with a first Twickenham triumph since 1988.

Although Wales were 13 points behind at one stage, Hook kept them in touch with a faultless six goalkicks out of six allied to assured decision-making in open play.

Scotland, by contrast, left Paterson – who didn’t miss a single goalkick at the World Cup – on the bench against last weekend and by the time he came on it was too late to turn the tide as France won 27-6 at Murrayfield.

Now though Scotland coach Frank Hadden, with Rory Lamont injured, has restored Paterson to the starting line-up at full-back and Hook insisted the hosts were not getting carried away ahead of the Millennium Stadium match following Wales’s 21-9 defeat at Murrayfield in last season’s Six Nations.

“It is brilliant to have won at Twickenham after 20 years and we are delighted – but if we lose to Scotland it will all go down the pan,” said the 22-year-old Hook.

“I played against Scotland for the first time last year, they are a hugely physical side and we lost.”

Saturday’s match will see Paterson, making his 83rd appearance for his country, become Scotland’s most-capped back and Hook, who saw Wales having to give second-best to England for an hour at Twickenham, said: “Chris Paterson is a great goalkicker and we don’t want to be giving away silly penalties like we did against England.”

Last Sunday’s defeat has left Scotland contemplating the prospect of finishing bottom of the Six Nations for the second successive season and this weekend’s task has not been made any easier by the knowledge that Scotland’s last victory in Cardiff was six years ago.

“It’s always a big ask to go to Cardiff and win, and after last week’s results it’s an even bigger ask,” Paterson said.

“There will be huge anticipation for Wales to play well and perform -from themselves and the fans. So, we’ll have to frustrate that.” Paterson has been an extraordinarily consistent Test goalkicker in recent seasons but there is a growing fear this aspect of his game has begun to mask a greater failing in the Scotland team as a whole.

Scotland have managed to score only one try in their last four outings -a statistic which concerns Paterson.

“There’s many things we have to improve upon, but that has hung over us for a while now,” he said.

“People want to see tries, and when you are up against good opposition it’s tries that win you the game.

“What we have to do is stick to what we’re doing and execute it better. What we do has given us tries in the past and it will give us tries again on Saturday, if we get the first phase right and everything is done well.”

Paterson, who on Saturday will surpass Gregor Townsend’s record of 82 caps for a Scotland back, added: “I suppose it’s a milestone. It’s a great feeling, but something that seems just to have crept up on me.

“I can remember playing with Gregor and thinking that I would just love to get anywhere near the number of caps he had,” said the 29-year-old Paterson, first capped for Scotland in 1999.

“When he retired I thought I would never get close to that, but it seems to have come around pretty quickly.”


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