Captain Craig Hammond to leave Nottingham

Craig Hammond

Long-serving Nottingham captain Craig Hammond is to leave the club this summer after accepting a player/coach role in Hong Kong.

The 33-year-old New Zealander, who has captained the Green & Whites a record 227 times during an 11-year stay, is joining Hong Kong Scottish.

Back-row forward Hammond had expected to sign a new contract in what would have been his testimonial season.

"It's emotional and tough, but exciting as well," told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"It's an opportunity that came up randomly. I wasn't really looking for it. I was planning on hanging around here and staying at Nottingham and getting a few more games under my belt but this came up out of the blue.

"Coaching is where I saw my future going and this is an opportunity to coach, still play and run around out there in a completely different environment, so I am looking forward to it."

Hammond said he never expected to form such a strong attachment to his adopted city when he first moved to the area.

"I came here for an off-season for six months and fell in love with the city," Hammond explained.

"The club have been really good to me and I have stayed for 11 years. My kids were born here, my daughter is just about to start school so we call this place home."

Hammond is convinced he is leaving the club in a very healthy position. The Green & Whites narrowly missed out on qualifying for the play-off semi-finals, but after a turbulent few years off the pitch, he believes the Championship club is geared up to bring Premiership rugby to the city.

He is also hoping to get the chance to be able say goodbye to the fans properly.

"We still might be having a farewell dinner and trying to have a send-off before I go," Hammond explained. "I didn't realise the game a month ago would be my last ever game for Nottingham.

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