The Kingsholm crowd favourite will move back to Wales for the beginning of the 2018/19 season after signing a three-year deal to join the Dragons.
Hooker Hibbard, who has won 38 caps for Wales since his debut in 2006, played in all three of the 2015 British & Irish Lions Tests and continues to prove that he performs at the very highest level after being selected as Gloucester’s player of the year following a tremendous 2016/17 season.
The Neath born front row forward, who turned 34 last week, played for Taibach, Aberavon and Swansea, then spent ten seasons at the Ospreys before joining the Cherry and Whites.
He made his senior Wales debut against Argentina in 2006, scoring his first international try in the win over Scotland at Murrayfield in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations and scored again for Wales against Ireland in August 2015, his most recent international appearance prior to the Rugby World Cup.
“Richard is an outstanding hooker and is someone that will add to our squad on and off the field,” said Dragons Head Coach Bernard Jackman. “He has huge experience at the highest level and given that we have a very young squad at present that expertise will be invaluable.
Hibbard’s arrival is another boost as Bernard Jackman continues to assemble a powerful and abrasive pack resembling the Gwent traditions of the past. Jackman has already successfully retained a number of key players for next season’s campaign including forwards Leon Brown, Elliot Dee, Ollie Griffiths and Joe Davies.
“We have some quality players coming through our system, but we lack some depth in certain positions and Richard signing gives us real depth at Hooker. He believes that he has unfinished business back in Wales and I and all the staff at the Dragons are looking forward to working with him.”
Following recent confirmation that Wales and Lions number 8 Ross Moriarty would be moving to the Rodney Parade next season, the acquisition of Hibbard also from Gloucester is another significant indication of the Dragons’ ambitions. On his move Hibbard revealed his excitement at joining the Dragons, ”I spoke to Bernard who shared his plans for the Dragons and the direction he wants to take the team and I really want to be part of that.
“I’m excited by the move back and what Bernard is building at the Dragons. Contributing to that will be my focus to get the team into a good place. Success may not be overnight, but hopefully in any small way that I can help I can speed that process up.
“The Dragons have an extremely skillful squad and a few experienced players will add to that. Ross coming in is exciting addition. He’ll galvanize the back row and hopefully I can bring some experience in as well.
“I’ve experienced being against the Dragons fans in the past and now I’m looking forward to joining and having them support me.”