Aviva Premiership: James Hook excited by Gloucester challenge

Aviva Premiership: James Hook says he is excited by a new challenge after joining Gloucester

James Hook has revealed he is excited by a new challenge as he was announced as Gloucester’s latest big-name signing.

The 28-year-old former Ospreys centurion was unveiled at the Wales training base at the Vale resort ahead of their tour of South Africa later this month, on a reported three-year deal.

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

James Hook

“I’m absolutely delighted to be embarking upon the next exciting phase of my career as a Gloucester Rugby player,” said Hook.

“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.”

Hook, who can play at outside-half or full-back, agreed a new three-year deal with France Top 14 club Perpignan last year, but their surprise relegation triggered a release clause, allowing the West Country club to pounce as a slew of clubs across Europe—including Ospreys—and the southern hemisphere reportedly lined up deals to secure the 75-times capped international’s signature.

“I was fortunate to have a number of options, but what stood out for me when I spoke to [Gloucester CEO] Stephen Vaughan was how much Gloucester wanted me to be part of their plans,” he added. “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 [there] for Perpignan. That was phenomenal and I can’t wait to experience that again.”

With England international outside-half Freddie Burns confirmed as moving to Leicester Tigers this summer, Hook is expected to become their first-choice 10 with their only other recognised player in that position being 19-year-old Billy Burns—Freddie’s brother and an academy product dual registered with Hartpury College.

Hook is the latest in a line of experienced names to have been lured to Kingsholm this summer, despite no director of rugby being confirmed to replace Nigel Davies, who was sacked after a disappointing season.

Wales hooker Richard Hibbard from Ospreys, Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw from Edinburgh, former England lock Tom Palmer from London Wasps, Argentine lock Mariano Galarza from Worcester Warriors and New Zealand prop John Afoa from Ulster will join Hook in looking to turn around Gloucester’s fortunes.

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