RUGBY: Gloucester sign hot transfer target James Hook

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Gloucester RFC Gloucester RFC

WALES back James Hook has become the sixth international to join Gloucester for next season – although the Cherry & Whites are still without a head coach following the sacking last month of director of rugby Nigel Davies.

Hooks moves from Perpignan to follow New Zealand prop John Afoa, Argentina lock Mariano Galarza, Wales hooker Richard Hibbard, Scotland scrum half Greig Laidlaw and England lock Tom Palmer – and he could be the biggest coup of the lot.

The 28-year-old agreed a four-year extension with Perpignan in 2013, but has activated a get-out clause after their relegation from France's Top 14.

The fact that one of the hottest transfer targets of the summer has chosen Kingsholm over a number of other offers in both the UK and France is a massive boost for Gloucester.

The Port Talbot-born star was 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. He is set to fly out to South Africa with Wales on Thursday.

"I would like to thank everyone at Perpignan for the past three years, which have been memorable," said Hook.

"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 player.

"I was fortunate to have a number of options, but what stood out for me when I spoke to Stephen Vaughan 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.

"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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