Mike Hook: Pooler will join me in the Premiership

MIKE Hook expects to be joined in the Principality Premiership by Pontypool after making the tough decision to leave for Bridgend.

The 31-year-old has quit his role as head coach of Pooler, who finished fourth in the Championship last season, to take charge of the Ravens' backs and work with the Ospreys academy.

The former fly-half/full-back had been at the club for five years, working his way up the coaching ladder after a neck injury forced him to retire.

And the way that Pooler have bounced back from their 2012 demotion from the Premiership – and a costly High Court battle – meant that it wasn't an easy choice to take up Bridgend's offer.

"It was a tough decision but one that I could make knowing the club is now stable and in a fantastic position to push for promotion," said Hook.

"It was a hard time for the club two years ago but we all stuck together. The squad has developed and the new signings that will arrive will help that to continue next season.

"The goals remain the same for Pontypool and I am very confident that they will be achieved because it's a great club with great people working hard to make things happen.

"The club stuck by me over some tough times and I will always be grateful for the opportunities that they gave me. I'm very proud to have been part of Pontypool."

Hook, whose younger brother James signed for Gloucester from Perpignan this week, will be missed but he leaves behind a management team that will keep things ticking over until a replacement is found.

Forwards coach and team manager Shaun Rees, who was hugely influential in the disastrous summer of 2012, will manage rugby matters and corporate director Ben Jeffreys has pledged that the change won't derail their bid to return to the top flight.

"We are very proud of what we have achieved together and I am particularly proud of the stability the club now holds in that we have the structures in place to react to such a fundamental change of leadership with such positivity," he said.

"I think that is a credit to the culture that exists within the club that has been led by Mike and his equally supportive coaching staff."

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