James Hook looks set to miss Wales' Millennium Stadium clash against New Zealand next Saturday after suffering a knee injury during the 34-13 error-strewn victory over Canada. The Ospreys fly-half Hook limped off in the 18th minute, nursing tendon trouble. And there was plenty of collective pain for Wales as they struggled to subdue a country eight places below them in the International Rugby Board world rankings.
Tries by the Scarlets full-back Morgan Stoddart and Cardiff Blues wing Leigh Halfpenny gave Wales an unconvincing 10-6 interval lead. And the head coach Warren Gatland's frustration surfaced just 10 minutes into the second period when he substituted skipper Ryan Jones. The All Blacks, unbeaten against Wales since 1953, have little to fear on this evidence, although Gatland will recall players like Lee Byrne, Shane Williams, Gethin Jenkins, Alun-Wyn Jones and Martyn Williams. The reigning RBS 6 Nations champions Wales made the game safe inside an hour when they were awarded a penalty try that Hook's replacement - the debutant Dan Biggar - converted. Biggar also booted a penalty, while the Bedford full-back James Pritchard - one of three English National League One players in the Canadian side - slotted a penalty double.
A 59,000-strong crowd's prolonged Mexican Wave during the second half summed up their displeasure at easily the worst display of Gatland's nine-Test reign. A second penalty try took Wales further in front, with Biggar adding the conversion, but then he gifted Canada a touchdown. * PA Sport