Having escaped the civil war engulfing Welsh rugby, Richard Hibbard is relishing the opportunity to pack down alongside John Afoa at Gloucester.
The Wales hooker signed a three-year deal with the Cherry and Whites last week and will arrive at Kingsholm in the summer, ending a ten-year stint at the Ospreys.
He completes a hat-trick of front-row signings as Nigel Davies bids to add muscle to an under-powered pack that has been heavily criticised this season.
While Sila Puafisi has already joined the squad, fans will have to wait for the arrival of Hibbard and Afoa but the British and Irish Lions Test starter is counting down the days.
Throughout his career with both the Ospreys and Wales, Hibbard has been part of a dominant scrummaging unit, and he hopes to establish another juggernaut front-row at Kingsholm.
Hibbard said: “I’ve played against John many times. He’s a very good prop and does a hell of a lot around the field which you can’t say for all tight-heads.
“The signing of John shows just how ambitious the club are. Any team in Europe would have wanted him so it’s just a great addition.
“I’ve been really lucky to have been a small part such a good pack at the Ospreys, with the likes of Adam Jones and I’ve learnt so much from him.
“But now I’m really looking forward to packing down alongside John and hopefully we can build a strong platform.”
The impact, experience and pure scrimmaging nous the Lion and former All Black duo will bring to Kingsholm is undeniable.
Both players are masters of the dark arts and worth their considerable weight in gold around the field but Davies hopes their influence will go beyond the pitch.
“The last year with a Six Nations defence and Lions tour has been such a great experience,” said Hibbard.
“You learn so much from those precious moments and fortunately there were lots of good results in big games.
“You take a lot of confidence from those sorts of matches and if I can pass it on and help bring people up a level then that’s brilliant.
“But I also know I still have learning to do and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of playing with new players and working with new coaches in a fresh environment.”
Hibbard has already admitted it was an agonising decision to quit his home region but he was left with little choice due to the ongoing feud across the border.
With just a year left on his contract at the Swansea-based outfit, Hibbard sought assurances over his long-term future, something the region were unable to offer due to their own uncertainty.
But Hibbard is relieved to push the politics in the principality aside and is excited to make the move after seeking advice from former Wales and Gloucester hooker Mefin Davies.
He said: “I’m actually really happy to be out of all the politics in Wales. Players shouldn’t have to worry about all that stuff, you should be focusing on the pitch.
“The situation really isn’t good. The boys don’t know where they will be, what competition they will be playing in or anything like that.
“A lot of them ideally would like to stay but the regions can’t offer them the security they want because they themselves have no certainty.
“But I’m so excited to be joining Gloucester now. Mefin loved his time there and highly recommended it and Paul James, who is now at Bath, reckons the Premiership’s a brilliant competition to play in and he doesn’t talk much rubbish.
“I spoke to a lot of people about making the move and only got positive feedback.”