I've learned in France - Hook
James Hook thinks a testing first season with Perpignan can help him mount a strong challenge for the Wales No 10 shirt in the summer matches.
The 26-year-old made the move to France from the Ospreys last summer having become frustrated at not being handed an extended run in his favoured fly-half position.
Perpignan have traditionally been one of the powerhouses of the French game, and were in the middle of a run to the Heineken Cup semi-finals when Hook agreed to move to Stade Aime Giral.
But his maiden Top 14 campaign proved to be an arduous affair as the Catalan club fought a prolonged battle against relegation, eventually finishing just two places above the drop zone.
And while the season may not have gone as he expected, Hook has no doubt that he has benefited from the experience.
He said: "I have learnt a lot, especially in the second part of the season when we were under a lot of pressure. We were near the bottom end of the table and it was about winning - it wasn't particularly pretty.
"For an outside-half it was good for me to play week in week out in high-pressure games, to see out those games and win them. We were fortunate enough to do that against some good sides at the end of the season.
"It was important for me to settle somewhere and play week in week out.
"It's probably the first time since my Neath days that I have played so many games on the trot at outside-half and I feel confident."
When he burst on to the scene in 2006, Hook was hailed as the natural long-term choice at number 10 for Wales with his reliable boot and silky running.
But the reality has turned out to be very different as the 62-cap Neath product's versatility has seen him also feature at centre and full-back, denying him the extended run at 10 that he so craved.
With long-term rival Stephen Jones approaching the end of his career, Hook could have been forgiven for thinking the fly-half shirt would soon be his, but he now has to contend with another Scarlet in the form of Rhys Priestland.
Priestland has become Wales' first-choice fly-half after proving an assured presence during the World Cup, but he experienced some difficult periods during the RBS 6 Nations - particularly against England and Italy.
And while Priestland is the favourite to wear the jersey in the first Test of the summer tour in Australia, a confident Hook is ready to put some serious pressure on his rival.
"I feel confident going on to the pitch. I feel happy where I am and I am enjoying it, which is what it is all about," he said.
"Playing there at club level has to help me internationally, but it is up to the coaches and injuries and things like that, which you can't really help.
"I would never turn down the opportunity to play for Wales, wherever the position is, but it makes it more difficult for the coaches to pick you as a fly-half if you are not playing there regularly for your club, so that helps."
Hook, who is a candidate to start Wales' June 2 appointment with the Baa-Baas ahead of the Test series Down Under, has toured Australia before.
The former Osprey was part of the squad that suffered a 2-0 series defeat in 2007, but only after being denied victory in the first Test by a last-gasp try from Wallabies replacement Stephen Hoiles.
But Hook says this Welsh side will prove a very different proposition for Australia.
"We did well in the World Cup and in the Six Nations, " he said.
"Winning big games gives you confidence and it would be massive to get something down there and it will make the southern-hemisphere sides take notice.
"We were so close in 2007 and there is no reason why we can't beat them this time."