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“I want my place back!” reveals Lions hooker Richard Hibbard

  • Richard Hibbard sends message to Warren Gatland ahead of Wales’ tour to New Zealand
  • The powerful hooker hasn’t been involved in Test rugby since before last year’s World Cup
  • Hibbard, now in his second season at Gloucester, says playing for his country remains a huge priority
Lions hooker Richard Hibbard has voiced his determination to win back his Wales place, saying retirement from Test rugby hasn’t crossed his mind.

The former Ospreys man has been out in the cold as far as the international scene is concerned since being passed over for a place in last year’s World Cup squad.

This time a year ago, the former Osprey was Wales’s first-choice hooker, a go-to man who could be relied upon to make a physical mark on any opposition, whether through spectacular hits or explosive carries.

Popular with supporters, he was a box-office performer who feared nothing.

But with the New Zealand tour looming in June, Hibbard, now in his second season at Gloucester, says playing for his country remains a huge priority.

“I understand that Warren sees Scott and Ken as his main hookers, and that is only fair because they have done a really good job,” Hibbard told the South Wales Evening Post.

But if anyone has a bump then, of course, I’d be up for representing my country.

“I haven’t retired from international rugby and nor have I thought about it. If you go down that road you may as well pack in the game altogether.

“You never give up hope of playing for Wales.

“My goal is to win back my place, but I appreciate Scott is the man in possession and Ken has been playing well, too.”

Hibbard though did reveal that he has no regrets about moving to English rugby,

“You just have to deal with these things,” Hibbard added.

“Other boys are playing very well at hooker, so I don’t have any issues. It’s swings and roundabouts and what a coach believes is right at that particular time.

“I can’t really moan.

“You just have to do your best to respond.

“There is also the point that Warren keeps an eye on things at Gloucester because Ross Moriarty is over here. So there’s always a bit of hope.”