News in Brief
Hook set for roving Wales role
James Hook will likely feature in the centre or at fullback for Wales this summer
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- Ospreys fly-half James Hook is set to play a vital role on Wales' upcoming tour of Canada and the USA, but not in his usual role of fly-half. Hook has struggled for form this season and found the route to Test recognition blocked by the form of Stephen Jones during the Six Nations, spending his most recent game-time for the Ospreys at outside-centre.
Wales will play Tests against Canada on May 30 and the USA on June 6, with Wales attack coach Neil Jenkins hinting that Hook's involvement will be further out in the backline allowing for either Nick Robinson or Dan Biggar to wear No.10.
"James has played for Wales at 12 before, and also 15, and he's played a few encounters for the Ospreys recently at 13," said Jenkins. "He is a fantastic rugby player, and sometimes when you have fantastic rugby players, you need them on the pitch. It might not always be in their favourite position, but we are going to look at him in a position other than 10. That position could be 13, it could be 15, but he's a fantastic player and we want him on the pitch."
Ospreys head coach Sean Holley has been confirmed as assistant coach for the tour. Holley will work alongside acting head coach Robin McBryde as Warren Gatland, Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley are away with the British and Irish Lions.
- Springbok prop Brian Mujati has signed a two-year deal with Northampton. Stormers and Western Province star Mujati made 12 Test appearances for the Springboks during 2008, making his debut against Wales in Bloemfontein. He will make his move to the Saints following the conclusion of Western Province's Currie Cup campaign, meaning that he may still come up against future team-mate Euan Murray who is set to tour South Africa with the Lions.
"I'm excited about the prospect of playing in England," said Mujati. "I played there with the Springboks last year and I'm sure I will like living and playing my rugby there, especially at a club like Northampton, which has done well this year. I've watched the Premiership on TV and it is a strong league. It will be a new experience for me and a different challenge in a new setting."
- Newcastle Falcons have signed former Leeds and England Sevens centre Rob Vickerman on a two-year deal. Vickerman, 23, follows wing Tom Biggs to Kingston Park from Leeds after notching ten tries in 11 starts in National One last season.
- Cheetahs scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn has been banned for three weeks after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle on Bulls wing Akona Ndungane during their Super 14 game on Saturday. De Bruyn will be eligible to play again on May 30.
- Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Richard Parks has been forced to retire due to a shoulder injury. Parks, 31, won four caps for Wales and also played for Newport, Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors, Perpignan and Leeds.
- John Kirwan's Japan will play a midweek game against Queensland at Ballymor on June 10 as a final warm-up for the Pacific Nations Cup, contested by Japan, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and the Junior All Blacks.