Hook and Murray ruled out of First Test

It has been announced today that the injury victims from yesterday’s match against the Southern Kings, James Hook and Euan Murray, have both been ruled out of the first Test against the Springboks on Saturday.

The news is a blow to the squad and to the individual players, with both looking likely candidates for a place on the bench against the Springboks. On Hook’s injury, assistant coach Rob Howley commented, “James had a blow to his head and his neck and he will have on-going medical assessment over the next 24 hours. He was the victim of a highish tackle and is feeling a bit groggy”.
Howley went on to add, “James came out as a replacement and he has done particularly well. His match winning kick against Western Province, and his accuracy, have been invaluable. James has the ability to play at 10, 12 and 15 and losing a player of his quality is a blow”.

Hook’s unfortunately timed injury may open the door for Ronan O’Gara to claim a place in the Test squad although, as Howley suggests, Hook’s versatility across the back line is something that the Lions will miss.
What is your reaction to the news? Would Hook and Murray have made the Test squad? If so, who would you like to see them replaced with? As ever, let us know your thoughts.