Wales v South Africa, Millennium Stadium, June 5
Hook happy to play on
June 1, 2010
James Hook will play through the pain barrier this weekend © Getty Images
James Hook has revealed that he is more than happy to play through the pain barrier this weekend as Wales take on South Africa in Cardiff.
The Ospreys utility back was a surprise call-up to the starting XV after earlier being rested to undergo surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury. He will now delay the procedure until after this weekend, sitting out subsequent Tests against New Zealand. The news boosts Wales in particular following the withdrawal of record try-scorer Shane Williams, who has been ruled out of the tour with a shoulder problem.
"To be honest, I didn't need much persuading," Hook said. "I had gone this far through the season, and I have made myself available for what will be a great game. Obviously, it is a problem that needs to be sorted, but an extra week shouldn't make any difference at all, really.
"Once the surgeon goes in and does what he has to do, he will decide how long it will be. Hopefully, it will be between three and four months and I can be back around September. I am having pain-killing injections, and that is helping me along. I can't really do much more damage to it, it's just the pain factor and getting through that. For the last five months, I have been managing it and doing what is best for myself."
Wales boss Warren Gatland is delighted to have Hook on board, but admitted that the loss of Williams will be felt by the squad.
"I think it is fantastic for James to be available, and the support from the Ospreys has been great," he said. "He will play this Saturday, and then get the operation done next week. It has worked out fantastically to have someone of his creative ability available - it's great news for Wales.
"Shane has a shoulder issue - I understand he was touch and go for the Magners League final [between the Ospreys and Leinster] on Saturday. He's just not right. We are losing an experienced and quality player."
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont
Will Genia should lead the Wallabies against the Lions, Joe Tomane to win the final wing spot and Israel Folau at fullback, writes Greg Growden
"Has there ever been such a large disconnect between France's club teams and the international side?" Ian Moriarty weighs up the state of French rugby
"By carrying a Great Britain label to the Antipodes, and getting beaten by the Kiwis, they established a tradition which has lasted to this day." Huw Richards rewinds to 1888