After six years in the Top 14 with Perpignan and the English Premiership with Gloucester, James Hook is heading back to the Guinness PRO12 and the club where he made his name as a precocious young playmaker.
And here we wind the clocks back nine years and remember his pivotal performance as what was then Lyn Jones’ side secured their second of four Celtic League titles.
Amazing to see @hookjameshook back at the Ospreys! Great player, bloke and signing!
— Adam Jones (@adamjones3) November 30, 2016
At 21, Hook had already made his debut and was at his mercurial best for the Ospreys – creating chances and kicking with aplomb – as they defeated Border Reivers at Netherdale in what would be the Scottish team’s last-ever game on Saturday 12 May 2007.
Tiatia presses title advantage:
Before the days of the Grand Final, Cardiff Blues had downed Leinster on the Friday night to move top of the league and pile the pressure on their Welsh rivals.
Jones’ side met a fired up Borders at Netherdale, but when All Black Filo Tiatia crossed within five minutes, it looked as though the champions-elect would have an easy day at the office.
Decent 24hrs for the Ospreys. First Sam Davies signs contract extension & then 81-cap James Hook returns to his home region from Gloucester pic.twitter.com/ad7NnOpkzS
— Rugby World (@Rugbyworldmag) November 30, 2016
Tiatia had looked to truck the ball up into props Gavin Kerr and Bruce Douglas, but some miscommunication allowed the No. 8 to walk through unchallenged and steady frayed Osprey nerves.
Calum MacRae got the Reivers moving from the tee, but a moment of vintage Hook magic created the game’s next score.
Just after half-time, a trademark dummy took him past the Border line, before he jinked through would-be tackles and fed Wales teammate Sonny Parker for his first score.
Shane Williams then lit up the match with a fine break which sent Parker over for his second before Richie Pugh spurned a chance to put the game beyond doubt.
— Ospreys (@ospreys) November 30, 2016
A farewell to Gregor:
Ospreys looked more or less home, but current Glasgow Warriors and soon-to-be Scotland coach Gregor Townsend – playing his final game as a professional – was on hand to push Ospreys to the wire.
He sparked a move that ended with prop Ed Kalman crashing over and putting the cat among the pigeons.
Hook though extended Ospreys’ lead in the closing stages with a cool long-range penalty and clinched the title.
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