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Hook set to move to France

Wales star James Hook is set to confirm on Wednesday that he will play club rugby in France next season.

A two-year deal with Heineken Cup quarter-finalists Perpignan is anticipated when Hook makes an announcement about his playing future at a press conference in north Wales.

Hook, who confirmed before Christmas he would be leaving the Ospreys, has courted interest from clubs across Europe.

But France will be his destination, following the likes of England trio Jonny Wilkinson, James Haskell and Tom Palmer into the French Top 14.

Wales backs coach Rob Howley, meanwhile, claims there is an "open mind" in selection about where Hook will feature against opening RBS 6 Nations opponents England on Friday week.

Centre, fly-half or full-back are all possible options for one of the most talented and versatile players in British rugby.

Howley said: "Looking at next week, we want James to create something out of nothing. He was perhaps trying too hard in the autumn (Tests), but we've got an open mind about where he plays.

"When he has gone to 10, as he did against the Blues and Toulon (for the Ospreys), it's been a totally different game and it has opened up.

"Scott Johnson (Ospreys coaching director) sees him as a 12 early on, then as a 10 later. It suits them, and it worked against the Blues and Toulon.

"James going to France is not a decision he has taken lightly, but he's made his decision and we still expect him to be fully focused for the next six to eight weeks."


From Belfast Telegraph