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Hook positive over Perpignan switch

James Hook believes the positives outweigh the negatives as he contemplates a new club career in France with Heineken Cup quarter-finalists Perpignan.

Wales star Hook's three-year deal - he is set to make his debut after the World Cup finishes in October - is thought to be worth more than £1 million. His contract, which officially starts in July, includes release for all pre-World Cup training with Wales, plus tournament warm-up Tests during August against England (twice) and Argentina.

"We have had assurances that James will be available for all international matches. He will join up with Perpignan after the World Cup," said Hook's agent, former Wales lock Derwyn Jones. "There are no certainties. It is the same for James Hook, Jonny Wilkinson and every player playing in France."

The 25-year-old will also be available for all matches covered by the International Rugby Board Test windows, although anything outside of that would require Perpignan's approval.

"When you are making a move like this, you can't base a decision on that you will be playing for Wales in two or three years' time or the availability for one (extra) international a season," Jones added.

Hook, a high-class operator at fly-half, centre or full-back, is poised to win his 48th cap in next week's RBS 6 Nations opener against England.

And he revealed that he had spoken with Wales coach Warren Gatland and national team backs coach Rob Howley about his desire to play in France.

"I still have huge aspirations to play for Wales, and I want to be involved in as many games as I can," said Hook. "I have spoken to Warren and expressed my desire to go over there, and in fairness he has been great and said he is not going to hold me back.

"Ultimately, it was my decision, but Warren and Rob have been great, and the Ospreys coaches have also given me support after I announced my decision to leave.

"The last few months I have known in my head I was going. It is a huge decision. It is not just me involved, it is my fiancee Kim and my little boy Harrison. Obviously, it is a rugby decision as well, but the positives far outweigh the negatives."

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