<H1 ="ss-er hstyle2 main-line">Hook in for Halfpenny</H1>
<H1 ="ss-er hstyle2 main-line">Ospreys fly-half pulled out of Wales' tour at the last minute</H1>
Hook: Pulled out of Wales' tour to Canada and USA James is an accomplished goal kicker and has scored over 200 points for his country in his 33 appearances. Also, he has played at fly half, centre and full-back for Wales but is also comfortable at outside centre</DIV>
Wales' James Hook has been called up to the British and Irish Lions squad as a replacement for injured compatriot Leigh Halfpenny. The fly-half is the latest addition to the touring party, getting the nod ahead of England's Delon Armitage due to his goalkicking abilities.
Hook had been due to depart with Wales for their tour to Canada and the USA on Saturday. Instead he will travel to Bagshot to join up with the rest of the Lions before they fly out to South Africa on Sunday.
Head coach Ian McGeechan admitted the versatility of the 23-year-old, who can also play in the centres or at full-back, was a crucial factor.
"After analysing our requirements for a replacement as we head to South Africa on Sunday we decided that James was the ideal person to come into the tour squad," he said.
"A very important consideration for us was to strengthen the goal kicking options in the squad.
"James is an accomplished goal kicker and has scored over 200 points for his country in his 33 appearances. Also, he has played at fly half, centre and full-back for Wales but is also comfortable at outside centre.
"He is very familiar with other backs in the squad having played in the same Welsh team as Mike Phillips, Stephen Jones, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams and Lee Byrne.
"Three of these also play in the Ospreys team with him that also includes Tommy Bowe. Therefore there is an existing understanding between all of these players."
While confirming Hook's call-up, Lions tour manager Gerald Davies said there was still hope that Halfpenny could join up with the tourists.
The Cardiff Blue will now return to his club for treatment on a thigh injury in the hope of joining up with the rest of the squad at a later date.
"Leigh Halfpenny has returned to Cardiff where he is to undergo treatment for his thigh injury," Davies said.
"As the injury means he will miss the start of the tour Ian McGeechan and his fellow selectors have called up James Hook to the squad for the tour to South Africa."
Hook's addition follows on from the announcement on Friday that Scotland hooker Ross Ford will take the place of Jerry Flannery, who was ruled out earlier in the week with an elbow injury.
I can't believe Delon Armitage didn't get the call up.</STYLE></DIV></DIV></DIV>