Back injury forces Bath captain Stuart Hooper to retire

Stuart Hooper of Bath during the Pre season match between Bath and Ospreys at the Recreation Ground on August 30, 2013
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Stuart Hooper retires from rugby union with immediate effect due to a back injury sustained last December against Leicester Tigers.

Bath Rugby skipper Stuart Hooper has called time on his rugby union career due to a back injury.

The 34-year-old lock, who has 232 Aviva Premiership matches under his belt, will retire with immediate effect.

Hooper has been at Bath for eight years since joining from Leeds Carnegie, while he has also previously represented Saracens where he spent the first four years of his senior career.

Having been restricted to 10 appearances this term, the last of which came in a 21-19 victory over Newcastle Falcons last month, Hooper has now decided to bring down the curtain on his playing career.

"You need to be 100% to play for Bath at this level, so my playing days are now over," he told BBC Sport. "I did the injury in December against Leicester.

"I missed five or six weeks initially, got it back to a stage when I could play, but didn't get it right unfortunately. I implicitly trust [the surgeon's] judgement. Now I'm very, very excited about the next challenges in life."

Hooper is currently ninth on the list of all-time Premiership appearance makers.

Bath players Peter Stringer and George Ford celebrate after Stringer had scored as Tommy Bell of the Tigers looks on during the Aviva Premiership semi final match between Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers at Recreation Ground on May 23, 2015
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