5:41pm Tuesday 3rd June 2014
GLOUCESTER have pulled off a major coup by signing Wales international James Hook ahead of the 2014-15 season.
Following Perpignan's relegation from the French Top 14, it could be argued that the 28-year-old Welshman has been the hottest property on the market this summer.
The Port Talbot born star agreeing to join Gloucester, following the likes of John Afoa, Mariano Galarza, Richard Hibbard and Greig Laidlaw amongst others, is a massive statement of intent for the club and a significant achievement given the level of interest in the player from around the world.
First capped by his country against Australia in 2006, Hook has gone on to win 75 caps for Wales as well as featuring for the British and Irish Lions on the tour of South Africa in 2009.
His last competitive outing was starting at fly half for the Possibles against the Probables in the Wales Trial match at the Liberty Stadium on Friday evening, and he is set to fly out to South Africa with Wales on Thursday.
Upon his return, however, Hook will be linking up with his new Gloucester Rugby team mates and it's a prospect he is looking forward to immensely.
He said: "I would like to thank everyone at Perpignan for the past three years, which have been memorable.
It's very disappointing to see the side relegated, but I'm sure they will bounce right back and I sincerely hope they do so.
"However, I'm absolutely delighted to be embarking upon the next exciting phase of my career as a Gloucester Rugby player.
"I was fortunate to have a number of options, but what stood out for me when I spoke to Stephen Vaughan (Gloucester CEO) was how much Gloucester wanted me to be part of their plans. They have huge ambitions and made it clear to me the role they wanted me to play in that.
"The talent in the squad is terrific, the training facilities are top notch and it's a wonderful area for myself and my family to settle in.
"And I had a taste of the Kingsholm atmosphere last season when I played here for Perpignan. That was phenomenal and I can't wait to experience that again.
"The prospect of playing for Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership is massively exciting.
"It's a new challenge, but one I'm looking forward to hugely. I can't wait to get started.”
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