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Gloucester excited by Hook signing

Gloucester chief executive Stephen Vaughan has described Wales star James Hook as a "rare" talent after taking him from France and into the Aviva Premiership.

Hook's widely-trailed move to Kingsholm has been completed after his former club Perpignan's relegation from the French Top 14 activated a contractual release clause.

Gloucester have not made public details of Hook's deal, but it is understood to be for three years and worth in excess of £750,000 over that period.

Hook, 28, has won 75 caps and he is currently preparing with Wales for their two-Test South Africa tour. Gloucester unveiled him at Wales' Vale Resort training base, and he will replace Leicester-bound England international fly-half Freddie Burns.

"It is a real statement of intent for us as a club," Vaughan said. "We have got a lot of plans to get Gloucester back to where it should be.

"We had a blip of a season last season, but we have identified where those issues were and we have certainly done a lot of fixing in terms of recruitment. We see James as a fundamental part of that going forward.

"We were made aware of James' potential availability when Perpignan were unfortunately relegated.

"At that time, Nigel (former Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies) was still in situ, so from a playing department perspective we followed the normal procedure and registered our interest.

"The first meeting was myself with James and his agent, and I drove it from there. However, that is not some kind of heroic statement from me.

"When a talent as rare as James comes up, it didn't take too long for us to know that we needed to move heaven and earth to get him in."

Hook will only be released for Test matches that fall within the International Rugby Board's recognised playing windows, Vaughan confirmed.

Hook, meanwhile, revealed that he had met with his former team the Ospreys, but said: "To be honest with you, the timing wasn't right.

"And when I came away from meeting Stephen and going up to Gloucester to see the club, I was really excited. After that, it was the only club I wanted to sign for.

"It has been a difficult month, with Perpignan getting relegated, but I am delighted to come back home and have another opportunity.

"It is important to play in one position for as long as possible, but as I know as much as anyone, you can be moved around due to injuries or other things.

"But it's nice to have the confidence behind me knowing that I am joining Gloucester to play at 10.

"Playing in France is similar to the Aviva Premiership in that there is something on every game. With bonus points and everything, every match is crucial. That's something I enjoy, going into every game with something to play for."

Among Hook's Gloucester team-mates will be fellow new Kingsholm arrival and Wales squad colleague Richard Hibbard, and Hook added: "I thought I saw enough of him in school!

"Seriously, it's nice to be reunited with 'Hibbs'. Gloucester have made some fantastic other signings as well, which was another reason for my decision.

"I spoke with 'Hibbs'. I speak to him quite a bit, anyway. He's a great bloke, and we all know what a good player he is. It will be nice to play alongside him again."

Vaughan, meanwhile, confirmed that Gloucester's search for a director of rugby to succeed Davies, whose services were dispensed with three weeks ago, is now at a shortlist stage.

"We've taken our time," Vaughan said. "The director of rugby at Gloucester is such a big job. We didn't want to get rushed in to making the wrong decisions.

"We have received a lot of CVs - from the sublime to the ridiculous - and we've narrowed it down to a short-list.

"We are very happy with the short-list we have, and I would hope to be in a position in the next couple of weeks to make an announcement regarding that."


From Belfast Telegraph