By his own admission, Hook's preferred position is at fly-half and his move to Perpignan next season is in the hope of starting more games at stand-off.
But Howley says the strength of Jones and Mike Phillips as a half-back partnership meant Hook had to settle for a starting berth in the No.15 shirt.
"We spoke about James going into 10, it was a long debate," said Howley. "We've gone for Test-experienced half-backs, two British and Irish Lions [Jones and Mike Phillips]. Steve hasn't done anything wrong," said Howley.
"James showed that when he played for the Ospreys over the Christmas period, when he went in at first receiver, he offered a running and creative threat.
"It's up to us as a backline to get him into the game as often as possible. That is one of the goals for Friday night.
"But we also believe that what Steve can bring us is a certain structure you need in the international game.
"It's about earning the right to play in those channels and about being direct. Steve and Mike, physically, over the autumn series were really effective defenders, which is key."