Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hook to leave the Ospreys

James Hook tries to evade Perpignan's clutches in 2009 in the Heineken Cup
James Hook tries to evade Perpignan's clutches in 2009 in the Heineken Cup

Wales and British and Irish Lions star James Hook is to leave the Ospreys at the end of the season, BBC Wales' Scrum V understands.

Hook, 25, told the Ospreys on Tuesday he will not re-sign, but has yet to announce which team he will join.

He has been linked with French club Perpignan and is believed to have received other offers.

Hook has stated he would prefer to play at fly-half, but has more regularly played centre for the Ospreys.

Versatile back Hook has also played at full-back for his region and Wales and in Lee Byrne's injury absence could don the number 15 jersey in their opening autumn Test against Australia on Saturday.

Hook's fly-half ambitions have been largely thwarted at the Ospreys since Dan Biggar's arrival in the top flight.

He is also down the number 10 pecking order as Wales prefer Stephen Jones in that role with Biggar as back-up.

Hook played through the pain barrier for much of last season, but pulled out of Wales' two-Test tour of New Zealand in June 2010 to undergo shoulder surgery.


Since recovering from the operation Hook has made five Ospreys appearances and has set his sights on adding to his 43 Wales caps - 32 in the starting line-up - after making his debut against Argentina in June, 2006.

The Ospreys had hoped Hook's desire to play for Wales would be the deciding factor in him staying with the region.

Wales coach Warren Gatland has made no secret that ideally he wants his players playing inside the regional structure.

But having not yet announced where he will play in future, Hook has left the way open for one of the Ospreys' Welsh rivals - Cardiff Blues, the Scarlets and Newport Gwent Dragons to attempt to sign him.

And unless he signs a contract with another team from the end of the 2010-11 season, Hook will be free for all of Wales' pre-2011 World Cup commitments.

That would place him in the same situation as Gavin Henson, who last week joined Saracens from the Ospreys to end his 19-month sabbatical from the game.

Hook made his Ospreys debut while a Neath player in the 2004-05 season and became a full squad member for the 2006-07 season.


Hook 'would prefer midfield spot'

Potenshöjande medel -

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