Blow for Pirates as points machine Cook joins Premiership club
With just a month to go before they start their pre-season fixtures the Cornish Pirates have been dealt a major blow with the news that gifted full-back Rob Cook has accepted an offer to join Premiership side Gloucester Rugby.
Cook, who turned 28 years old last weekend, has been a stand-out performer for the Pirates since joining them from National League side Nuneaton in the summer of 2009.
He made 104 competitive appearances for the Cornish club scoring 1,029 points including 376 last season, and his all-action style of play along with a reliable goal-kicking boot made him a huge hit with the Pirates fans.
But his consistently good form did not go unnoticed with several Premiership clubs running the rule over him and last season Sale Sharks emerged as favourites to entice him away from Cornwall.
However, Cook decided against the move, stayed loyal to the Pirates, signing a contract extension for the coming Championship season.
In leaving he becomes the fifteenth summer departure from the club and the third to join a Premiership club with Drew Locke (also Gloucester) and Dave Ward (Harlequins) leaving ahead of him.
Indeed the path to Kingsholm is a well trodden one by former Pirates with hooker Darren Dawidiuk and lock Will James at the club for several seasons.
But the loss of Cook is a disappointment to the Cornish Pirates as Head Coach Ian Davies admitted.
"It is a double edged sword to be honest," he said.
"It is a great opportunity for Rob and we have never stood in the way of a player offered a chance to join a Premiership club. But July is not the time to lose key players."
"He turned down the chance to go to Sale last season because it wasn't right for him but Gloucester should suit his style of play well. Cookie signed a contract for this season but he had a release clause to move to the Premiership if it happened. Unfortunately for us it did."
And Davies accepted that the club will have to look at recruiting a replacement in time for the new season but stressed that it might not be another full-back.
"We have got a few options at 15 with Kieran Hallett, Wes Davies, Grant Pointer and Matt Evans all able to play there. It may be that we look to sign a wing," he said.