Gloucester captain Hamilton off to France

Aviva Premiership rugby club Gloucester have revealed that club captain Jim
Hamilton will leave Kingsholm at the end of the current season to take up a
contract with an undisclosed French club.

Hamilton, who turned 30 a few weeks ago, is currently in his third season with
Gloucester Rugby having moved from Edinburgh in the summer of 2010.

Since his arrival, he has played a big part in Gloucester’s success on
the field, become a huge fans’ favourite and developed into a fine leader.

Hamilton was under contract with Gloucester for the 2013-14 season. However,
the Scotland international second row will leave Kingsholm at the end of the
current season, with Gloucester receiving a financial settlement to compensate
for the final year of his contract.

“It’s a fact of life in the modern game that the French sides currently
have much bigger playing budgets than their English counterparts," said
Director of Rugby Nigel Davies.

“Jim is a fine player, an experienced international and has been a big
part of what we’ve achieved so far this season at Gloucester Rugby.

“However, the offer is significant, and it would be wrong of us to try
and stand in Jim’s way. It’s a massive opportunity for him. We don’t
want to lose him and he’s aware of that.

“We’re not the first team to lose a player this way, we won’t
be the last.”

Despite the obvious disappointment involved in losing one of the club’s
senior players in this way, Davies is positive about the future.

“I must stress to the Gloucester supporters that this does not signify
a lack of ambition on the part of the club.

“We will, of course, be seeking a suitable replacement for Jim as we
seek to establish Gloucester Rugby as a force in domestic and European rugby.

“In the meantime, I know that Jim will continue to be 100% committed
to Gloucester Rugby in the time he has left at the club.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton admitted that it had been the most difficult decision of
his career,”The time I’ve spent at Gloucester has been the best of my

"It’s been an honour and a privilege to wear the Cherry and White
shirt, to represent the city and the supporters and, of course, to captain the

“However, the offer from France is simply the opportunity of a lifetime
and one that I just couldn’t ignore. It’s a great move for myself
and for my family. I hope that everyone will understand that.

“Nigel Davies and the club have been terrific about it, and I can’t
thank them enough for that.

“When the time comes, I will leave Gloucester with a heavy heart. I have
made friends for life here, it’s been a special place to play my rugby
and I wouldn’t have left to join another English club side.

“And, of course, I will be putting in 100% every time I wear the Gloucester
shirt from now until the end of the season.

“I am fully committed to this season being one of real success for Gloucester
Rugby and hope to bow out on a high.”

The club have however have boosted their second row resources with the signing
of Tongan international lock Lua Lokotui.

32 year old Lokotui, an international team mate of Gloucester back rower Sione
Kalamafoni, was most recently seen in this country on Tonga’s recent autumn
tour when he scored one of the tries in the win over Scotland.

A member of Tonga’s 2011 Rugby World Cup squad, he’s no stranger
to the European club game, having enjoyed a spell with Stade Francais.

He then spent time playing in Japan before representing the Wellington Lions
in New Zealand’s ITM Cup.

Gloucester’s Director of Rugby Nigel Davies explained today why it was
important to add another second row to the squad.

“We’ve effectively been a man down since Alex Brown injur

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