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Pro14

Former Welsh Ace to Hang Up Boots

One of Wales’ former stars has confirmed that he will retire from rugby come the end of the current season

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Former Wales back James Hook has announced that he will be calling time on his professional rugby career come the end of the current season.

Hook is contracted to the Ospreys, but with his deal set to end at the end of the campaign he has decided the time has come to pull the curtain on a professional career spanning 16 years. 

“It’s sad but something I’m really looking forward to. It comes to everyone at some point and now it’s time for me. I’ve had lots of highlights, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations and going on the Lions tour in 2009. Then signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player. You never think it’ll actually happen so when it did it really was amazing,” he said in a post on social media. 

The 34-year old picked up a total of 81-caps for Wales to go along with his 148 appearances for the Ospreys. 

As well as his time with the Welsh region Hook had spells at both Top 14 side Perpignan and English Premiership outfit Gloucester between his stints at the Ospreys. 

Hook has admitted he hopes to continue his rugby journey off the pitch, but that he is also looking forward to having more time to spend with his family after such a long time on the playing field. 

“I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills, like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides, and I’m hoping to finish my level three coaching qualification. It’ll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys and my wife. It’s going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you’ve got to be positive and look on the bright side and I’m looking forward to what’s next,” he added. 

As well as his rugby career Hook has also written a series of children’s books that are set to be released later this year and that could provide him with something else to venture into if they are successful. 

However, for now he will be hoping that he can help the Ospreys turn around their disastrous season to date before he hangs his boots up for good. 

Pro14

Ulster Star Commits Future to Province

Ulster have announced that one of their key men has signed a contract extension with the northern province

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ulster have announced that Ireland prop Jack McGrath has committed his future to the club after signing a contract extension.

The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal that will see him remain with the province until 2022. 

Having joined Ulster from Leinster before this season McGrath is delighted to have his future sorted. 

“On arriving at Ulster, I was welcomed with open arms and I have very much settled here since joining at the start of this season. It’s a fantastic set-up in terms of the players, coaches and support staff that I get to work alongside every day – and I look forward to what the future holds for the province over the course of the next two years,” he said. 

The 56-cap Ireland international and a British and Irish Lion McGrath has a huge amount of experience behind him and head coach Dan McFarland thinks he has a big role to play in the future of the province. 

“Jack’s reliably strong performances and vast international experience make him a great asset to Ulster – so I’m delighted that he is chosen to continue his career here with us. By renewing the contracts of players such as Jack, we are continuing to strengthen our squad now, and also into the future, given the important leadership he provides for our young talent starting out in their careers. I’m confident that Jack will play an important role in Ulster’s successes in the years ahead,” he said. 

It is a huge boost for Ulster to have his services to rely upon over the coming seasons as they look to continue to build on their brilliant season to date.

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Pro14

Scarlets Sign Future Wales Ace

Scarlets have confirmed the arrival of one of Wales future stars ahead of next season

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PRO14 outfit the Scarlets have announced the signing of Wales U20 fly-half Sam Costelow from Leicester Tigers ahead of next season.

The 19-year-old is predicted to have a bright future ahead and starred for his U20’s side last weekend when he earned the man of the match against England’s youngsters and is delighted to have the opportunity to play in Wales next season. 

“I’m really excited to be playing in Wales with the Scarlets next season. Scarlets are a really good side who have been playing some great rugby which I think will suit me. I feel it is the right move for me in how I am going to develop into the player that I want to be and also to fulfil the targets and hopes I want to fulfil in my career. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that Leicester have provided me. I’ve learnt a huge amount there, especially from a player of the quality of George Ford. Hopefully, I can now keep developing at the Scarlets,” he said. 

Having played for the Ospreys U16’s he made the move to England to play for the Tigers and earned a couple of appearances in Europe for the East Midlands side this season. 

He has since been on loan at Championship side Ampthill for the rest of the season, where he has impressed once more and will be a huge boost for the Scarlets and their future.

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Pro14

Information for Final Round of PRO14 Confirmed

The fixtures, times and dates of the final round of this year’s PRO14 regular season have been announced

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(photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The Guinness PRO14 final round fixtures have been announced with all the information you need to know about them.

Round 21 of the regular season is set to kick-off on Friday May 29th with the Kings hosting rivals the Cheetahs

The last round is full of derby games and continues on May 30th with Welsh rivals Ospreys taking on the Scarlets at 13 00. 

At 15 00 two games will commence with current favourites Leinster heading to Belfast to play Ulster in what is a mouthwatering tie and the Dragons will welcome the Cardiff Blues

The last of the games will start at 17 15 as Munster take on Connacht, Benetton host Zebre and Edinburgh play Scottish rivals Glasgow Warriors in what is set to be a final day to remember. 

As of now the final day could see teams still with plenty to play for to decide play-off places and Conference standings. 

However, it remains to be seen whether the current coronavirus outbreak will have any effect on the final round with Italy already suspending all events as the country goes into lockdown in an attempt to prevent the spreading of the virus. 

Check Out the Full List of Round 21 Fixtures Below. 

Friday, May 29 –

Isuzu Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 7.10pm local time (live SuperSport)

Saturday, May 30 –

Ospreys v Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, 1pm (live Premier Sports)

Ulster v Leinster, Kingspan Stadium, 3pm (live Premier Sports)

Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 3pm (live Premier Sports)

Benetton Rugby v Zebre, Stadio di Monigo, 6.15pm local time (live DAZN)

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm (live eir Sport)

Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors, BT Murrayfield, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports)

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