PERPIGNAN, France (AFP) –
Welsh international lock Luke Charteris signed a three year contract with Top 14 side Perpignan from Newport Gwent Dragons on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old – capped 34 times – will join compatriot and fellow international James Hook at the club who struggled all season to avoid relegation just three years after landing the title.
Indeed Charteris, who had a superb World Cup last year which saw Wales somewhat unluckily lose to France in the semi-finals, waited till Perpignan had ensured their survival with a 34-22 victory over Bordeaux-Begles last weekend.
“James (Hook) spoke to me a lot about the club, the spirit of the squad but also the passionate nature of the supporters and the charming way of life here,” he said.
“Perpignan is an ambitious club, it is for me an occasion to discover a new championship, certainly the best in the world, a new style of play, and a team very committed to being combative.
“More and more Welsh players are attracted by the challenge of the Top 14.
“The quality of the championship and the talent of the squads weigh heavily on their choice.”
French sides ability to pay far better wages while Welsh sides struggle financially has persuaded the likes of others such as scrum-half Mike Phillips and fullback Lee Byrne to join the exodus.