Stuart Hogg announces plan to walk away from rugby

Stuart Hogg with the Calcutta Cup - Stuart Hogg announces plan to walk away from rugby - Getty Images/Andy Buchanan
Stuart Hogg with the Calcutta Cup - Stuart Hogg announces plan to walk away from rugby - Getty Images/Andy Buchanan

Stuart Hogg, the former Scotland captain and British and Irish Lions full-back, has announced that he will retire from all rugby after the World Cup. Hogg, 30, had an option to extend his contract with Exeter Chiefs for a further season following the 2022-23 campaign, but has opted to hang up his boots.

A Gallagher Premiership and Champions Cup winner with Exeter in 2020, Hogg has won 100 caps for Scotland and is his country's record try scorer with 27.

In a post on social media Hogg said: "As a young kid growing up in The Borders, all I wanted to do was to play rugby for Scotland. I feel privileged to have represented my country on 100 occasions, play on three British & Irish Lions tours and represent some amazing clubs. I couldn't have asked for any more.

"I've so many people to thank and I will get round to you all. First and foremost is my wife Gil, my parents, my brother and my kids. I'm so lucky and proud to have such a loving family that have supported me every step of the way.

"Rugby has allowed me to meet some incredible characters, make lifelong friends, travel the world and be part of some unbelievable experiences that I will cherish forever. Knowing what lies ahead, I have a real hunger to play the best, most enjoyable rugby of my career, finishing the season strongly with Exeter Chiefs before attacking the opportunity we, as a nation, have in France.

"I don't feel my body can achieve the standards that I set myself for much longer and l've always wanted to finish at the top end of the game. After the tournament, a new career beckons and I will attack it in the same manner as I play the game. I hope I have done you proud. 100 not out (just yet)."

Hogg had openly discussed the possibility of walking away from the game with BT Sport back in October, admitting that external criticism had affected him away from the field.

"I come across as a happy, confident person, but deep down I've struggled and I've hated it," Hogg said.

"And I've actually been very, very close at times to thinking 'why am I putting myself through all this stress and strains, my body's feeling absolutely horrendous and I'm getting dogs abuse at the weekend?'.

"There was a time a couple of years ago I thought 'do you know what, why am I playing rugby?' because I'm constantly coming home in a foul mood with my wife and kids all because some clown has said something about me. I thought: 'is it easier if I just walk away from the game and never have that again? Or do I suck it up and think, right no matter what I do, you're always going to get heat'."

Hogg's retirement makes him the latest big name to leave Exeter at the end of this season, with England internationals Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds joining Montpellier, Jack Nowell heading to La Rochelle, Joe Simmonds linking up with Pau, Dave Ewers signing for Ulster and Jannes Kirsten returning to South Africa to play for the Bulls. Tighthead prop Harry Williams has also been linked with Montpellier.

As a result, the club are set for a major rebuild this summer, with no new signings as of yet confirmed. Exeter are currently in sixth place and eight points outside of the play-offs with three matches remaining, after Sunday's defeat at Bath.