sport

Hook joins up with Gloucester

James Hook has signed for Aviva Premiership club Gloucester after invoking a relegation release clause from French Top 14 club Perpignan.

The 28-year-old Wales playmaker is understood to have completed a three-year deal, and was unveiled by the Cherry and Whites at a press conference at the Vale of Glamorgan Hotel on Tuesday.

Gloucester's chief executive Stephen Vaughan spearheaded the capture of Hook, with the club still seeking a new coaching unit after rugby director Nigel Davies was sacked.

Hook will tour South Africa with Wales this summer before assuming Gloucester's frontline fly-half duties next season.

The former Ospreys playmaker joined Perpignan in 2011, but decided to leave after the Catalan club suffered Top 14 relegation this term.

Gloucester dispensed with rugby director Davies' services on May 12 after a lacklustre Aviva Premiership campaign.

The Kingsholm club are still searching for the former Scarlets boss' replacement, but pressed on with recruiting Hook regardless.

Hook revealed CEO Vaughan was central to his decision to join Gloucester.

"I was fortunate to have a number of options, but what stood out for me when I spoke to Stephen Vaughan was how much Gloucester wanted me to be part of their plans," said Hook in a club statement.

"They have huge ambitions and made it clear to me the role they wanted me to play in that.

"The talent in the squad is terrific, the training facilities are top notch and it's a wonderful area for myself and my family to settle in. And I had a taste of the Kingsholm atmosphere last season when I played here for Perpignan. That was phenomenal and I can't wait to experience that again.

"I would like to thank everyone at Perpignan for the past three years, which have been memorable. It's very disappointing to see the side relegated, but I'm sure they will bounce right back and I sincerely hope they do so.

"However, I'm absolutely delighted to be embarking upon the next exciting phase of my career as a Gloucester Rugby player."

Unseated Kingsholm boss Davies had signed Edinburgh and Scotland half-back Greig Laidlaw to replace Leicester-bound Freddie Burns as Gloucester's first-choice fly-half for next season.

The British and Irish Lions tourist is now expected to feature more prominently at scrum-half, as he does with Scotland, with Hook shouldering the outside-half burden.

Hook can operate at full-back and centre as well as fly-half, but despite that versatility the 75-cap international has never quite nailed down one favoured role at either club or Test level.