Ospreys have announced that James Hook has signed a deal that will see him returning to his home region at the end of this season.
The 31-year old Ospreys centurion has signed a three-year contract and will head back to the Liberty Stadium six years after leaving to experience life in the Top 14 with Perpignan.
The second-highest points scorer in Ospreys history, Hook moved to Gloucester in the summer of 2014, and is currently in his third season at Kingsholm.
Speaking about his return to the Ospreys, Hook couldn’t hide his excitement “I’m delighted to be going back home next summer” he said.
“It’s been fantastic to go away to new places, get some unbelievable experiences in England and France with two great clubs, but I’m coming home to a team that’s going places, with good coaches who I know well and a quality squad with some world class players and really exciting young talent.
“It’s good for me personally, as a rugby player, and it’s the right thing for my family, to be coming home.”
Capped 81 times by Wales, Hook has seen it all as a player at the top level, from PRO12 titles at the Ospreys, to Grand Slams, Lions tours and, at Gloucester, success in the Challenge Cup, but he admits to always holding out for the day he would report back to Llandarcy Academy of Sport for training.
“I always planned, or hoped, that I’d come back but six years is a long time” continued Hook.
“A lot has changed in that time and anything could have happened. I’m grateful, and fortunate, that I’m getting this opportunity.
“It’s important I finish well at Gloucester. It’s a great club with some great people involved and they’ve been really good to me. I’ve enjoyed my time with the club and I want to end on a high there to say thank you for that, before I can focus on the new challenge at the Ospreys.”
Having left the Ospreys as a 25-year old, Hook will return as a different person and a different player and he says he is looking forward to finding himself a senior play at the region: “Since I left I’ve experienced two different leagues, different environments and cultures. There’s been ups and downs as there always will be, but I’d say that I’m older and wiser now, a better person definitely and hopefully a better player.
“I realise that perhaps I’ll have a different kind of role in the squad next season than the last time I was here. I’ve spoken to Steve about how much I’m looking forward to using the experience I’ve gained in England and France, and with Wales, to help the youngsters as much as I can.
“Saying that, I don’t think I’m finished yet. I’m only 31, I’m playing week in, week out with Gloucester and I think I’ve got plenty to give on the field for a few years to come.
“The Ospreys are ambitious, they are creating strength in depth, and that suits me.”
The signing of James Hook comes just a day after the Ospreys’ newest Wales international, Sam Davies, signed a new contract, while Justin Tipuric, Dan Baker and Dan Lydiate (NDC) have also recommitted in recent weeks.