Gloucester Rugby have announced the signing of Josh Hohneck from Kiwi side Highlanders. The tighthead prop was integral to the New Zealand team’s Super Rugby triumph last year, and held up the scrum excellently.
Having started throughout the year for the team crowned the champions of the southern hemisphere, Hohneck now turns to the future, and will join Gloucester at the Kingsholm Stadium next year.
Of course, the fact that Gloucester have signed a world class prop is newsworthy in its own right, but the story is ten times bigger owing to the fact that Hohneck, once he moves to the Premiership, will be eligible to play for England.
Gloucester confirm the signing of Kiwi TH prop Josh Hohneck from the Highlanders. English-qualified 30-year-old, also covers LH.
— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) March 31, 2016
Eddie Jones will certainly be an interested observer, and Hohneck could yet be feature in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Speaking about the signing to the club website, Gloucester Director of Rugby David Humphreys revealed his delight at the signature.
“We’re thrilled that Josh has agreed to join us at Kingsholm, and he will add another quality option to our ranks in the front row.
“We have spoken a lot in recent months about needing to establish a real platform up front, and the addition of Josh will help us to achieve that. His ability to play both sides of the scrum is a huge advantage but he will also make a big impact with both his ball carrying and defence.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing what Josh can bring to the squad and perform in a Cherry and White jersey.”
Hohneck himself is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a very big step for me, and one I’m really looking forward to. I’ve watched a lot of English rugby, spoken to a lot of people who have played there and I can’t wait to get involved.
“I’ve heard that the Gloucester fans love powerful forward play, and I’m hoping to deliver on that front. Having so many fellow Kiwis at the club will also help me settle in quickly.
“But, for now, I’ve got the rest of the Super Rugby season ahead of me. I owe a lot to the Highlanders, and I’ll be giving everything over the next few months to finish on a high as we try and retain the title.”
Dan Cole could be a worried man.
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.