Wales exodus continues as Gloucester confirm signing on British and Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard

Hibbard has been in tremendous form for Wales over the past year and will join the Cherry and Whites from next season

Gloucester have announced that British & Irish Lions hooker Richard Hibbard will join the club next season.

The 30-year-old will move to the Aviva Premiership side from Ospreys and is another signal of Gloucester's intent following the signing of All Black World Cup-winning prop John Afoa.

Hibbard made his international debut for Wales against Argentina in 2006 and played four times in this year's RBS Six Nations before featuring in all three Tests for the Lions in Australia this summer.

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies believes Hibbard's signing is another significant move for the club.

"As with the recent confirmation of John Afoa's signing, Richard agreeing to join Gloucester Rugby next season is fantastic news. Balancing the squad, and adding depth in key areas has been a key objective for us, and this news is another part of that process," Davies told the club's official website.

"It shows where we're heading as a club. We're building a team armed not just with power up front, but also the ability behind the scrum to play a rounded and complete game.

"Richard is arguably one of the top hookers in world rugby. Clubs all around the world have been interested in signing him, so it's significant that we've been able to convince him that Gloucester is the right place for him to play his rugby.

"And, once again, it's a testimony to the hard work and commitment of everyone at the club. We're able to invest significantly in our team thanks to the backing of our board, the continued financial success of Gloucester Rugby and the significant investment made by our partners, sponsors and supporters."

Neath-born Hibbard said he is ready for a new challenge.

"It was always going to be a tough decision to leave my home area, as I'm currently in my 10th successive season at the Ospreys, which is my local region and where I was born," the hooker said.

"That said, I'm absolutely delighted to be joining a rugby club such as Gloucester, based in the heart of the local community, with such a tradition and with amazing support.

"I'm a great believer in loyalty and community and I'd like to place on record formally, my great thanks to the Ospreys management, coaches, players and fans for supporting me so well throughout my career.

"I'm an Ospreys fan, and always will be. I'll just be supporting them from a distance! I wish them well in the future.

"I now look forward to this next exciting chapter in my life, and indeed that of my young family, and hope to help Gloucester Rugby return to the top of the English and British game."

PA

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