Scotland’s rugby captain Stuart Hogg announced his immediate retirement from rugby on Sunday.
Hogg says that despite his best efforts, his body is simply no longer able to face the approaching World Cup tournament.
The 31-year-old Exeter full-back – who has 100 international caps under his belt – had intended to hang up his boots after September’s spectacle in France, but says he has unfortunately now had to call it quits.
“It is difficult, but it is with great sadness and enormous pride that I announce my immediate retirement from rugby,” Hogg said in a statement issued by the Scottish Rugby Union.
“I fought with everything I had to be at the World Cup, but this time my body couldn’t do the things I wanted and needed to do.
“We knew this day would eventually come; I just never thought it would be so soon.”
Hogg made his international rugby debut in 2012 and became one of Scotland’s leading scorers of all time.
He served as Scotland captain between 2020 and 2022 and was also in the squad for three tours of the British and Irish Lions in 2013, 2017 and 2021.
However, his 100th game for Scotland was also his last when this country competed against Ireland in the Six Nations series in March. Hogg had to leave the field early due to an ankle injury.
“It is difficult to describe in words the effect rugby has had on my life,” says Hogg.
“I will retire knowing that I have given my body and heart to rugby.
“I will be forever grateful for this amazing community and can’t wait to start my journey as a proud supporter of the team.”
Hogg’s retirement is a big blow to Scotland’s World Cup preparation. A difficult few games await the Scots, especially those against Ireland and defending champion South Africa, in Pool B of the World Cup.
“I had the privilege of coaching Stuart for most of his career, and he was a pleasure to work with and watch on the training pitch and in matches,” says Scotland’s coach, Gregor Townsend.
“To reach 100 games this year was fitting and a reward for a career that saw him win trophies domestically and at European level.
“We respect his decision to step away now and understand the stress and challenges his body has gone through in recent seasons.”