Gloucester confirm Hamilton exit
December 12, 2012
Jim Hamilton has never shirked the physical challenge of the Aviva Premiership © Getty Images
Gloucester skipper Jim Hamilton will leave the club at the end of the season for an unnamed French side.
The Scotland capped second-row has been heavily linked with a switch to Top 14 side Montpellier with Racing Metro also rumoured to be interested in his services. Hamilton still has a year left on his current deal and Gloucester have confirmed that they will receive a "financial settlement to compensate for the final year of his contract".
Hamilton is the club's current skipper, having been given the skipper's armband pre-season by boss Nigel Davies, and Davies has confirmed that the loss of Hamilton is a big blow.
"It's a fact of life in the modern game that the French sides currently have much bigger playing budgets than their English counterparts," Davies said. "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."
Davies is now rumoured to be looking for two second-rows ahead of his next season following Hamilton's departure and doubts concerning Alex Brown's long-term future in the game with the lock currently fighting to recover from an injury. And Davies is adamant that Hamilton's decision to move on from Gloucester is not a sign that the club's ambitions are lessening.
"I must stress to the Gloucester supporters that this does not signify a lack of ambition on the part of the club," Davies said. "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."
Hamilton admitted that he was leaving the club with a heavy heart but the opportunity offered in the Top 14 was too good to turn down. "The time I've spent at Gloucester has been the best of my career," Hamilton said. "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 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 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."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.
"I think the work I do in defence gets spoken of a little too much as it comes at the expense of what I do in attack." Brad Barritt talks to Tom Hamilton
The European Champions Cup: what's changed and what's new in the revamped competition previously known as the Heineken Cup?