Gloucester hooker Richard Hibbard will be leaving Gloucester at the end of the season, joining his current team mate Ross Moriarty in signing for the Dragons.
The 34 year old has signed a three year contract with the ambitious Welsh region and according to Head coach Bernard Jackman a Wales recall is his target.
“It’s a good thing he’s coming back with international ambitions because that’s going to make sure he keeps his form,” Jackman told BBC Sport Wales.
Jackman added: “Richard has been very good for Gloucester – players’ player of the year last year, fans player of the year the year before – and probably felt that he is still good enough to play for Wales. But out of sight, out of mind and the move back will have him under the eye of the international selectors.”
He had been contracted to be with Gloucester until the end of 2018-19, but will move a season early.
The Welsh international and former British and Irish Lion has decided that a return to Wales to finish his career is the best decision for himself and his family.
In a statement announcing the move Hibbard said: “Finishing my career in Wales is important to me. This opportunity has probably come a little sooner than I expected.”.
“To have the chance to finish on a high, back home in Wales in front of family and friends is an exciting one,” he added.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult decision. The reason it’s been so tough is that I’ve become so attached to Gloucester during my time here.
“I’ve probably played some of my very best rugby in Cherry and White and I’ve enjoyed it so much.”
Hibbard won the last of his 38 Wales caps in August, 2015 against Ireland and also played in all three tests on the Lions tour of Australia in 2013.
Hibbard made 91 appearances for Gloucester since joining in 2014 scoring seven tries and has been hugely influential at the English side.
The former Osprey said that speaking to Jackman really helped make his decision “I spoke to Bernard, who shared his plans for the Dragons and the direction he wants to take the team and I really want to be part of that.
I’m excited by the move back and what Bernard is building at the Dragons. Contributing to that will be my focus to get the team into a good place. Success may not be overnight, but hopefully in any small way that I can help I can speed that process up.”
Gloucester Director of Rugby David Humphreys added, that when Hibbard moves on, he’ll have made an excellent contribution to the club’s history.
“We knew what we were getting when Hibbs joined the club – an absolute warrior – and he’s more than lived up to that. The part he’s played for Gloucester Rugby over the past few seasons cannot be over-estimated.
“But, when we were made aware of the opportunity that had arisen, we felt that it was only fair to allow Richard to pursue it.
“As is the case with Ross Moriarty, I know for a fact that Hibbs will give it everything in his remaining time with Gloucester Rugby. We’ll wish them both well in their future endeavours when the time comes, but look forward to them making more memories here before they leave.”