Hook targets late September comeback

Three weeks after undergoing shoulder surgery James Hook is on the road to recovery and targeting a return to action towards the end of September.

Hook opted to sit out of Wales' summer tour to New Zealand in order to go under the knife at the earliest possible date, and he says that he's looking forward to resuming duty in an Ospreys shirt, allowing him to build on what was an outstanding personal campaign last season.

"I want to carry the momentum I built up in the second half of the season into next season now" said Hook.

"That's the reason I decided to have the op done early and to miss the tour. If I'd gone to New Zealand, I'd only now be looking at having the op and I'd probably be talking about October or even November.

"I'll miss the first few games of the season. From what they are telling me I'm looking at the end of September before I'll be able to play which isn't so bad. I don't want to rush back unnecessarily, I'll follow their advice and make sure I've got it right before I come back. At least doing it this way I can be back, pretty fit and raring to go after missing just a few games.

"The Heineken Cup will be on us before we know it, on the second weekend of October. I'd like to be able to get a few games under my belt before then, get match fit in time for the first round and that has to be the target. But, like I said, I'm not going to rush it, or do anything stupid. I'm working closely with the physios, and when they think I'm ready and I feel ready, then that will be the right time for me.

"The injury didn't really stop me doing what I had to on the pitch, but it did mean I couldn't do what the rest of the boys were doing in training, the weights and stuff. I could play okay, but if I got caught the wrong way I'd really feel it. Looking back at the season, I'm glad that I carried on playing through, personally, I  think I did pretty well at the back end of the season, the team played some good stuff and we got our reward with the Magners League title. It needed to be done in the end though."

After featuring for Wales in their Millennium Stadium fixture against South Africa a week after the Ospreys clinched the Magners League title, Hook's decision to miss the tour meant that for the first time since making his international debut in 2006 he was able to enjoy a rugby free summer, spending quality time with his partner and their new son.

"It's actually been nice to have a bit of time to rest up during the summer, spending time with Kim and Harrison away from rugby" he added.

"It's the first summer I haven't gone away to play rugby in what, five years? After the Lions tour last summer I was straight back into it, I was involved in the first game of the season in Connacht, so it's good to get something like a rugby free summer - if a bit strange. But with a World Cup coming up next year, it's important to be fresh for that if I want to be in contention so the timing of the op is probably right for me all ways."