James Hook set to see out Perpignan contract
JAMES Hook is in no hurry to leave Perpignan despite speculation that he could part company with the Catalans at the end of the season.
The former Osprey is under contract to the Blood and Gold until July 2014.
But it has been reported he has signed an amendment to his contract that will allow for a parting of the ways at the end of this term in the event of Perpignan failing to make next season's Heineken Cup.
According to his agent Derwyn Jones, however, no such fresh arrangement has been struck.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"It isn't true," said Jones.
"James is contracted to Perpignan until 2014 and the plan is for him to see out his contract. He is enjoying his rugby out there and he and his family are settled. He likes France; he is happy where he is."
The issue is whether Perpignan have briefed French journalists to the effect that the club might want to lighten their wage bill if they fail to qualify for the Heineken Cup for a third successive season.
But they haven't indicated as much to Hook, who starred in the 34-20 win over Toulouse the weekend before last.
"I went to Barcelona to watch the match with Toulouse and James had a fine game," said Jones. "He's playing at fly-half, accumulating a lot of points and doing a good job."
Every Welsh region would probably like to see Hook on their books, but whether any of the four could afford him under the belt-tightening conditions that prevail in Welsh rugby is another matter.
The French press have suggested the Wales international earns £350,000 a year at Stade Aime Giral, presumably rising with bonuses and perks, maybe even to the £500,000 a term figure that was floated when he left Wales.
The Ospreys fought hard to try to retain him and even knitted together a £1 million sponsorship package that would have paid his wages for three years, but since then the game in Wales has been gripped by austerity.
For Hook to return at some point over the next two years, the likelihood is a region would have to push the boat out financially or the player himself would have to take a hit in wages.
In the meantime, Hook will continue to press his Wales claims in his favoured No. 10 position, though there has been talk of Perpignan using him elsewhere.