Hook to leave Ospreys
Wales utility back James Hook will leave the Ospreys at the end of this season.
Last Updated: 02/11/10 6:54pm
Wales utility back James Hook will leave the Ospreys at the end of this season after giving the Welsh region formal notice that he will not be accepting the offer of a new contract.
After months of negotiations, the Ospreys had set British and Irish Lions star a deadline of November 2 to inform them of his future plans.
Hook says he will make a decision on where his future lies in February, with French club Perpignan favourites to sign him.
But the 25-year-old - who has played at full-back and centre but whose preferred position is stand-off - is likely to be a target for numerous high-profile clubs.
Hook said: "After all of the recent speculation regarding my rugby playing future, I informed the Ospreys this morning that I won't be signing a new contract for next season.
"I felt it was only fair to the Ospreys to let them know of my intentions to leave well in advance of January 2011, so that they can find a replacement.
"The Ospreys have been vital to my development as a professional rugby player, and I can't thank them enough for everything they have done for me.
"My decision to leave is no reflection on the Ospreys - the board and the management team have given me an incredible support network from the time I signed my first professional contract to now.
"I will make a decision on where my future lies in February 2011, and I won't be making any further comment on this matter until this time."
Hook is expected to be switched from centre to full-back as replacement for the injured Lee Byrne, when Wales coach Warren Gatland names his team on Thursday to face Australia.
Hook is set to win his 44th cap in Saturday's opening autumn Test at the Millennium Stadium.
In a statement, the Swansea-based Ospreys said: "James Hook has today formally notified the Ospreys that he will not be accepting the offer of a new contract, and as such, will leave the region at the end of this season.
"We have been in negotiations with James for a number of months and had set him a deadline of today for informing us of his intentions in order to allow us to plan as a business for the future.
"By advising us at this early stage, it allows us to look towards the 2011/12 season and beyond with a degree of certainty when it comes to player recruitment.
"James has been a tremendous servant to the Ospreys since making his debut for the region in 2004, representing his home region with pride.
"While we now know that he will no longer be an Osprey next season, we are confident that he will continue to serve the region well between now and the end of May, and we hope that he will return to represent the Ospreys at some point in the future."