Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett set to join Lyon next season

 

Wales hooker Huw Bennett has confirmed he will play club rugby in France next season.

The Ospreys forward, who has 50 caps, said on Twitter that he will join French Top-14 side Lyon.

Bennett, 28, was first-choice Wales hooker at the World Cup, but missed Saturday's Triple Crown-clinching victory over England at Twickenham due to a calf muscle injury.

Bennett tweeted: "I want to thank the Ospreys & our awesome supporters for a fantastic 9 years! Been there from its inception & will always hold a special place in my heart.

"Looking forward to my new challenge of playing in France with Lyon. Until then, I am fully committed to ending the season on a high & with some silverware for ospreylia!"

Bennett is the latest Wales international to agree a cross-channel switch.

Mike Phillips, James Hook and Lee Byrne began respective careers with Bayonne, Perpignan and Clermont Auvergne after the World Cup, while prop Gethin Jenkins confirmed last week that he is heading to France after agreeing what is understood to be a move to Toulon.

World Cup lock Luke Charteris, currently injured, is also expected to join the exodus, while Newport Gwent Dragons wing Aled Brew - another World Cup squad member - is heading to Biarritz.

Asked last week about the increasing number of players moving to France, Wales coach Warren Gatland said: "I don't know what the answer is.

"It is difficult to compete with the money the players are being offered overseas given the financial pressures our regions are under at the moment.

"It is difficult for the regions and difficult for the players when they are being offered significantly more money overseas.

"My stance has always been ideally we would love them to stay here, and we will do everything we can to try to keep them here, but players have a very short career in terms of playing at this level."

PA

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