Stuart Hogg retirement announcement: “I've always wanted to finish at the top end of the game”

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Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has announced that he will be retiring from playing rugby after the World Cup later this year to pursue a new career as he declared that he "always wanted to finish at the top end of the game".

The 30-year-old made the surprise announcement through his social media channels on Monday, just over a fortnight after winning his 100th cap against Ireland.

Hogg, who turns 31 in June, will play out the rest of the season with Exeter before hanging up his boots after the international showpiece in France in the autumn as he does not believe his body will allow him to maintain the standards he sets for himself "for much longer".

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The Hawick-born player said in a statement: "After RWC 2023, my professional rugby journey will end and I will be retiring from the game. As a young kid growing up in the Borders, all I wanted to do was to play rugby for Scotland.

Hogg was visibly emotional before winning his 100th cap against Ireland earlier this month,Hogg was visibly emotional before winning his 100th cap against Ireland earlier this month,
Hogg was visibly emotional before winning his 100th cap against Ireland earlier this month,

"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 Gill, 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 I'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)."

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Hogg began his career with Glasgow, playing his first professional match in 2010, and made his Scotland debut in 2012. He has played at two World Cups, in 2015 and 2019, and went on each of the last three British & Irish Lions tours in 2013, 2017 and 2021. He moved from Glasgow to Exeter in 2019 and was named Scotland captain the following year. He skippered the national team for just over two years before Jamie Ritchie took over the role in the autumn after head coach Gregor Townsend opted to make a change.

Hogg was visibly emotional before winning his 100th cap against Ireland earlier this month, although the match ended on a sour note when he was forced off in the closing stages with an ankle injury that ruled him out of the final Six Nations match against Italy. He will have further opportunities to add to his caps haul in the World Cup warm-up matches in July and August before heading to France for his final fling with Scotland, who are in a World Cup group alongside South Africa, Ireland, Tonga and Romania.