Hibbard excited about opener

Gloucester hooker Richard Hibbard is relishing the prospect of an away trip to champions Northampton for Friday night's Aviva Premiership season opener.

Hibbard – a summer signing from Ospreys – is set to make his debut for his new club along with recent recruits James Hook, Greig Laidlaw, John Afoa and Jacob Rowan.

And the 30-year-old admits he is struggling to contain his excitement.

"It's a brilliant game to start with," Hibbard said. "I played against Northampton last year, and I know how good how they are.

"It doesn't get a better challenge than that, going in against the champions in their own back-yard for the first game of the season.

"There is going to be a constant intensity every week. There are no rest weeks or easier weeks - every game is a must-win in this league.

"I am so looking forward to it, it's hard to explain."

Hibbert also believes his Wales international team-mate Hook, who arrived at Gloucester in a big-money move from French club Perpignan, is an exciting acquisition for the club

"We played against Leeds (Yorkshire Carnegie) the other day in a friendly, and James was playing like it was like the Premiership final. He was absolute class," he added.

"He is class, and you know at any point in a game that he could change it with some of his magic.

"When you have got someone who is as big a threat as James, it opens space elsewhere."