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Wales and Ospreys back James Hook to retire from rugby at end of season

Credit: PA

Former Wales rugby international James Hook has announced his intention to retire from the sport at the end of the season.

The Ospreys back played 81 times for Wales and toured with the British and Irish Lion in 2009.

He says he's eyeing up a future in coaching and has plans to publish a series of children's books later this year.

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Hey Guys, Just want to let you know that I’ll be retiring from the game of rugby that I love so much, at the end of this season. I've been privileged to do what I love for so long. Never in my wildest dreams, starting out as a 5 year old playing for Aberavon Quins, did I think I’d experience what I have in the game. Rugby has given me so many incredible experiences which has allowed me to travel and live in some of the best places. Every team I have played for since the start has shaped my journey and given me incredible memories that I will always treasure. I have so many people to thank. Firstly, my teams. Thank you @aberavonquins125, @aberavonrfc, @tatasteelrfc, @neathrugbyofficial, @ospreys_official, @usapofficiel, @officialgloucesterrugby, @barbarians_fc, @welshrugbyunion and the @britishandirishlions Massive thanks to all the fans who supported me throughout the highs and lows of my career. I’m truly grateful and have appreciated your support so much. Thank you to the people who have made my dreams possible - my teammates, coaches, backroom staff, parents, Grandparents, brother, sister, my in laws, along with my friends, sponsors and my agent Derwyn. Lastly, but by no means least, thank you to my amazing wife Kim, and our three sons - you’ve been my rock and constant, lived it with me and backed me every step of the way. It’s been an unbelievable ride and I’ll attack my next adventures in the same way that I always approached the game, and that is - play what’s in front, take a few risks, and do it all with as much positivity as I can possibly bring. Thank you 🙏 x

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Credit: PA

Between 2006 and 2015, Hook was part of two Grand Slams and three Six Nations-winning sides, and played in three World Cups.

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. Then 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.

– James Hook

Known for his versatility as a player, he would appear for Wales at fly-half, in both centre positions and from full back.

He looks set to show even greater versatility in his post-playing career with a series a children's books to be released later in the year.

But he still wants to be involved in the game as a coach.

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, and I'm hoping to finish my level 3 coaching qualification. It'll be nice to spend time with my family, my 3 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.

– James Hook