James Hook persuades Luke Charteris to sign for Perpignan

Luke Charteris has revealed he has signed a three-year deal with Top 14 side Perpignan on the advice of Wales team-mate James Hook.

The 29-year-old Dragon will join Hook at the French club who have just survived relegation from the Top 14.

"I spoke to James quite a lot," admitted Charteris.

"He just spoke very highly off the place and the people and told me what a great experience it was."

Back in March Charteris insisted that in any contract he signed would give "full release" for Wales playing and training squad duties.

"If I'm called on I'll be available for all Welsh training and for Welsh games because that's massively important to me," he said.

In doing so, Charteris fell in line with Wales coach Warren Gatland's wish for any players based elsewhere to ensure their contract allows them to fulfil all international commitments.

Charteris joins Perpignan just as hooker Huw Bennett has signed for another French side Lyon.

The 29-year-old Dragons lock said he had been impressed with Perpignan on previous visits.

"I was lucky enough to come to Perpignan five years ago to play with my old team [Dragons]," he revealed.

"I just loved the experience and loved playing in front of a passionate crowd.

"Both times I have played at Stade Aime Giral before the atmosphere was superb and the noise [made it] a very intimidating place so I'm looking forward to being one of the home players now.

"I'm looking forward to moving over and living in a new city and a new culture and trying to practice my French and fitting in as much as I can.

"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."

Charteris along with Hook, Bennett, Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne is the latest Wales international to be lured across the English Channel.