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James Hook

James Hook has announced his impending retirement from the game

Hook set to hang up his boots

Former Wales and British & Irish Lions and current Ospreys back James Hook has announced he will retire from rugby at the end of the season, bringing an end to a glittering 16-year career.

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Hook, now 34, won 81 caps for Wales after making his debut against Argentina in Puerto Madryn in 2006. Capable of playing in a number of back-line positions including fly-half, centre and full-back, Hook will be remembered as one of the most talented players to ever pull on the red shirt.

The Port Talbot-born playmaker represented Wales at three Rugby World Cups and helped his country to Six Nations Grand Slam glory in both 2008 and 2012. 
He also played in the 2013 Six Nations campaign as Wales sealed the title with a famous 30-3 victory over England in Cardiff.

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After coming through the ranks with Aberavon and Neath, Hook became an Ospreys hero while he also played club rugby for French side Perpignan and English outfit Gloucester. 
He toured South Africa with the Lions in 2009, but didn’t make a Test appearance. With the Ospreys he won Celtic League titles in 2006-07, 2009-10 and 2011-12.

“My contract is up at the end of the season with the Ospreys so I’ve decided to call time at the end of the year. It’s a sad time, but something I’m really looking forward to,” Hook said.

“It comes to everyone at some point and now it’s time for me. I’ve had lots of highlights throughout my career. Both internationally with Wales, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations Championships, and going on the British and Irish Lions tour.

“Signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player. You never think it’ll actually happen so when it did, it really was amazing.”

Hook signed his first professional rugby contract in 2005 and he currently has 148 Ospreys appearances under his belt and sits second on the all-time Osprey points scorer list with 841.

“There are a couple of standout games for me. Playing against Australia in 2006, I came off the bench after an injury to Stephen Jones after 20 minutes,” Hook said. 
“Then there’s playing against England in the Six Nations the following year in the last game of the tournament. We avoided the wooden spoon and I won man of the match.

“The following year against England we won the Grand Slam and beat them for the first time in 20 years at Twickenham. I don’t know why, but I just love playing against England.

“Every time I did it always seemed to go well for me. One of my favourite Osprey moments would have to be back in 2006 when we faced Sale in the Heineken Cup. At the time, they had a host of internationals in their mix. Dwayne Peel, Charlie Hodgson, Jason Robinson and Sébastien Chabal were there and they were flying high. I came off the bench after only playing a handful of times for the Ospreys at the time. We went on to score a try after 20 odd phases into injury time to level the scores. I had a kick to win it and I got it! That was the moment that kick started my Ospreys journey.

“It does mean a lot to me being an Osprey. I started playing in Port Talbot as a young boy, played for Aberavon Quins, then moved to both Aberavon Youth and Tata Steel before moving to the arch-rivals Neath and then becoming an Osprey. When I left the first time, I always said it was to experience different things and play in different leagues, but I always wanted to come back. 
“I’m grateful I had the opportunity to be able to.”

Hook has already made a start on his post-rugby future, penning a new series of children’s books set to be released later in the year after drawing inspiration from his own career.

“I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides. I’m hoping to finish my level 3 coaching qualification,” Hook said. 
“It’ll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys, and my wife. It’s going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you’ve got to be positive and look on the bright side and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years. As players we appreciate supporters so much, especially the ones who are there for the highs and the lows and those who travel all over the world to support us.

“They really do make a huge difference and it means the world. Thank you.”

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Hook set to hang up his boots
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Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
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Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
Hook set to hang up his boots
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