Stuart Hogg to sign for Montpellier in July as medical joker after retirement U-turn

Stuart Hogg leans against a wall

Stuart Hogg, Scotland’s all-time leading try scorer, will complete an extraordinary career revival by signing for Montpellier in July.

Telegraph Sport reported on Monday that talks between the relegation-threatened Top 14 club and the former Exeter full-back had reached an advanced stage. Barring any last-minute changes, Hogg will put pen to paper in July ahead of the new season after an agreement was reached between the two parties.

It is understood the deal will be completed in the coming weeks and that the 31-year-old will arrive in the south of France next month. Holding up the move is the fact Hogg will technically arrive at Montpellier – who will be involved in a relegation play-off against the runners-up of France’s second division later this month – as a medical joker for next season, which does not start until July 1. Anthony Bouthier, the France full-back at one of the Top 14’s big-spenders, suffered a serious knee ligament injury on club duty last month and is not expected to return to action until 2025.

It is believed that Hogg’s former agent Ryan Shahin and Twenty Sports Group – who have moved Henry Arundell and Lewis Ludlam to France in the last 12 months – is behind the deal with the club owned by French billionaire Mohed Altrad.

Telegraph Sport understands Hogg started to enquire about a return to the professional game in February and spoke to French, Japanese and English clubs; one of which, contrary to reports, was Newcastle. Hogg did receive an offer from the Falcons but it was rejected with the parties never meeting in person.

Hogg, who began this season working as a pundit for TNT Sports, has not played any rugby since Exeter Chiefs’ Champions Cup semi-final defeat against La Rochelle last year, having brought his retirement forward last summer ahead of Scotland’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

The former Scotland captain and three-time British and Irish Lions tourist appeared in court at the start of last month charged with acting in an abusive manner towards his estranged wife, having been arrested outside a house in Hawick in February. Hogg pleaded not guilty and was ordered to stay away from her ahead of a trial beginning at the end of July.

Back in April, Hogg posted on social media to discuss his time in rehab.

“I was lost, needed help, direction, time away from the spotlight to be able to take a deep breath and think,” Hogg said. “I’ve been so concerned about what people thought of me, how I was coming across, the impact I would have on them and how I would survive the day. I lived every moment in my head and it wasn’t healthy.

“Spending time at a rehabilitation centre allowed me to reset, learn about myself and talk about how I felt, without being judged. It’s not been easy but it was the right thing to do. Taking accountability was the first step in the right direction. I accept I have made mistakes and understand why l acted as I did.”

Montpellier have already signed Billy Vunipola ahead of next season, with the former England No 8 battling Sam Simmonds for a spot in their starting XV.

The club also controversially announced the recruitment of former France prop Mohamed Haouas, who was convicted of domestic abuse last year and had his contract with Clermont terminated before joining Biarritz. Bastien Chalureau, the France lock who was found guilty of “aggressive behaviour” last year, is also on the books at Montpellier.