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Hook to quit Ospreys

Wales star James Hook will leave the Ospreys at the end of this season.

Hook has given the Ospreys formal notice that he will not be accepting the offer of a new contract with them.

After months of negotiations, the Ospreys had set British and Irish Lions centre Hook a deadline of Tuesday to inform them of his future plans.

Hook says he will make a decision on where his future lies in February, but French club Perpignan - whose past players include New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter - are red-hot favourites to sign him.

Hook, who is set to win his 44th Wales cap in Saturday's opening autumn Test against Australia at the Millennium Stadium, will follow Gavin Henson through the exit door.

Henson had been on unpaid leave from the Ospreys for 18 months, and they last week "reluctantly agreed" to release him from the remainder of his contract so he could relaunch his rugby career with Aviva Premiership club Saracens.

In a statement, the Swansea-based Ospreys said: "James Hook has today formally notified the Ospreys that he will not be accepting the offer of a new contract, and as such, will leave the region at the end of this season.

"We have been in negotiations with James for a number of months and had set him a deadline of today for informing us of his intentions in order to allow us to plan as a business for the future. By advising us at this early stage, it allows us to look towards the 2011/12 season and beyond with a degree of certainty when it comes to player recruitment.

"James has been a tremendous servant to the Ospreys since making his debut for the region in 2004, representing his home region with pride.

"While we now know that he will no longer be an Osprey next season, we are confident that he will continue to serve the region well between now and the end of May, and we hope that he will return to represent the Ospreys at some point in the future."

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