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Lions Team Announcement At 12.30pm

Lions Team Announcement At 12.30pm

Ian McGeechan will formally announce his 2009 British & Irish Lions team to tackle the World champion Springboks in the first Test on Thursday (12.30pm Irish time).

The Lions players will be told in training on Thursday morning and the media will learn the make-up of Ian McGeechan’s Test team at 1.30pm South African time (12.30pm Irish time).

IrishRugby.ie will carry news of the starting line-up and replacements as soon as it breaks.

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Two players have been ruled out of contention for Saturday’s first Test – Welsh utility back James Hook and Scottish prop Euan Murray.

Hook took a blow to the head in the early stages of Tuesday’s 20-8 victory over the Southern Kings, while Murray also had to be helped from the pitch after twisting his ankle.

Lions backs coach Rob Howley said: “James had a blow to his head and his neck and he will have on-going medical assessment over the next 24 hours. Today is quite an important day for James with regards to the rest of his tour.

“He was the victim of a highish tackle and is feeling a bit groggy. 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. He has the ability to play at 10, 12 and 15 and losing a player of his quality is a blow.”

Speaking after the game, head coach McGeechan said: “The good news is that Euan has had an X-ray and there is no break. It is just a sprain.”

Ireland winger Tommy Bowe, one of the front runners for a place in the Test side, had an interesting time of it at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, running back and forth as the Lions’ water boy.

Bowe, pictured above with captain for the day Donncha O’Callaghan, wrote in his Irish Times tour blog about the experience. 

“My job as water boy for the day may look easy but it’s tougher than it looks. Some of the supporters enjoyed shouting some abuse at me but it was all very funny,” he said.

“I will definitely know from now on – as a back – that passing a message to the front five is a waste of time, even if it’s from the coaches.

“I will repeat the reply I was to go back to the coaches with and to keep it rated PG I will replace the most common word they used with ‘frog.’

“One of the forwards said to me: ‘Frog off, we know what we frogging need to do, you frogging back!’

“Lesson learnt!”