James Hook, Wales (file pic). Andrew Matthews

81-times capped Wales star set to retire from rugby to focus on children's books

James Hook scored 352 points for his country from his debut in 2006 to his final bow in 2015.

FORMER WELSH UTILITY back James Hook is to retire from rugby at the end of the season and initially focus on writing children’s books, he said on Monday.

The 34-year-old Ospreys star — capped 81 times — wants to mix writing and coaching after a playing career in which he ruefully admitted he “could have achieved more”.

Hook scored 352 points for his country from his debut in 2006 to his final bow in 2015 — being part of two Six Nations Grand Slam winning sides — and was selected for the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa.

He also had stints with French outfit Perpignan and then English side Gloucester before returning to the region where it all started with Ospreys.

“A lot of my close friends at the Ospreys have retired and have had to retire early as well because of injuries,” Hook told the BBC.

“The nature of the game now is really physical. You play a game and it takes you three or four days to get over the bumps and bruises.

- None to be found -

“I’ve got a young family. I’ve got three young boys, and a wife as well, and I want to be able to go in the garden and play and kick a ball about with them.

“I consider myself one of the lucky ones. There is more to life than rugby.”

Hook says his weakness may have been he was seen as being able to cover in all sorts of positions in the backs without nailing down a specialist spot.

“I probably feel I should have achieved more,” he said.

I started at outside-half, moved to 12, then to 13 and I played 15. That is pretty much the story of my career.

“Perhaps that was a factor. I was probably to blame at times as well by not performing and nailing down certain positions.”

His book “Chasing a Rugby Dream: Kick-Off” – the first of a series of children’s books centred around the exploits of a young rugby player with dreams of reaching the top — is due to be published in the spring.

He revealed the idea to put pen to paper came form accompanying his oldest son Harrison to a book fair.

“There was a book fair going on after school and he asked me if we could go and get a book and he wanted a rugby book,” said Hook.

But there was none to be found.

“I thought there’s an opportunity here so I wrote a few ideas down.”

© – AFP, 2020

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