James Hook: Ospreys and Wales back admits retirement fear over coronavirus

Ex-Wales back James Hook looks back on his 14 year rugby career

Wales international James Hook concedes he may have played his last game of rugby as a result of the coronavirus outbreak's impact on sport.

A British Lion in 2009, Hook announced in January he would be retiring from the game at the end of his current campaign with Ospreys.

The Pro14 is now suspended indefinitely, with strict criteria for its resumption.

It means the 34-year-old thinks his farewell may have already happened.

"It has crossed my mind," said Hook, speaking to Radio Wales Sport.

"When it all first happened you thought it might only last a couple of weeks or a month if that, but whether we will play another game remains to be seen.

"I might have played my last game and it would be sad when you think about it like that, but there are more important things in life and hopefully this virus will pass without too much damage."

James Hook in action against Australia in 2006
James Hook won 81 caps for Wales

Hook, a talented operator at fly-half, centre and full-back, was twice a Grand Slam winner, with his 352 points making him Wales' fifth highest points scorer.

He has made 149 appearances for his home region, winning two Pro14 titles in the process, with two spells at the Liberty Stadium split by time at Top 14 side Perpignan and Gloucester in the English Premiership.

He cited a desire to spend time with his family and an ambition to develop into a children's author as reasons for his decision to hang up his boots after 16 years in the professional game.

That playing retirement may well have come sooner than anticipated, with former Ireland and Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris casting doubt on the competition's ability to reach a conclusion.

Hook, though, says players are still training despite the challenges of isolation and uncertainty.

"Last Monday we were given our GPS unit to take home and basically being isolated training on local rugby pitches," he said.

"I've been at Swansea University doing running there and getting my weight sessions in the garage. We have to make use of what we've got.

"Up until last week, some of the boys were going to their local gyms but now they have to make do with what they've got in the house or running on their own on local pitches or any hills you can find.

"With the training, pre-season can be a long time training on your own, but you know the season is going to start at the end of it. Now we don't know when the season will re-start so it is tough but we're all in the same boat and we just have to get on with it."

Hook says players' desire would be to finish the season in some form, and suggested regional derbies could be used as a means of pumping much-needed revenue into the Welsh game.

He also accepted there are worries about finances with reports of pay cuts across English Premiership clubs, though added that "everyone is feeling the pinch, not just in sport".

The Welsh Rugby Union has pledged financial assistance to community clubs hit by the lack of income following the decision to cancel the domestic season and the UK Government move to close all bars.

"It's tough in Wales at the moment anyway, but this is a big kick in the teeth," said Hook, who played for Neath in the Welsh Premiership.

"But we always stick together in Wales - just look at the recent floods in the valleys and the amount of people who pulled together to help those clubs.

"If and when we do start playing again, I'm sure people around Wales and those communities will help out exactly the same and hopefully not too much damage is done."

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