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Gloucester's revolving door

Wed, 12 Dec 2012 12:50
Jim-hamilton-ball Lua-lokotui Jim-hamilton-gloucester
It is a fact of life that French sides have much bigger playing budgets
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English Premiership side Gloucester on Wednesday announced the departure of their captain Jim Hamilton to France and the arrival of Tongan international Lua Lokotui.

Scotland lock Hamilton is leaving at the end of the season, one year before the end of his contract, for an undisclosed French club.

Hamilton, who has 41 Test caps, joined Gloucester from Edinburgh in 2010 having previously played for Leicester.

"The time I've spent at Gloucester has been the best of my career," he said.

"It has 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 side.

"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 everyone will understand that."

Gloucester's Director of Rugby Nigel Davies admitted that the financial clout enjoyed by France's Top 14 clubs had proved decisive in Hamilton's decision.

"It is a fact of life in the modern game that the French sides currently have much bigger playing budgets than their English counterparts," he said.

"Jim is a fine player, an experienced international, and has been a big part of what we've achieved so far this season.

"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 is aware of that.

"We are not the first team to lose a player this way. We won't be the last."

Gloucester were quick to boost their second row resources with the signing of Lokotui, an international teammate of Gloucester back row forward Sione Kalamafoni.

The 32-year-old was part of Tonga's recent year-end tour when he a try in the win over Scotland.

Lokotui joins the club after a spell with French Top 14 side Stade Francais, then Japan and in New Zealand for the Wellington Lions.

Davies said: "Lua brings a big physical presence and international experience to the table and we're delighted to welcome him on board."

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