Bath captain Stuart Hooper, 34, retires on medical advice
Bath have announced the retirement of their captain Stuart Hooper.
The 34-year-old lock has quit the game with immediate effect on medical advice after suffering a back injury earlier this season.
Former England Saxons skipper Hooper made 192 appearances for Bath after joining them from Leeds Carnegie in 2008. His top-flight career began at Saracens.
"I have had an incredible career, and these last eight years with Bath are ones I will look back on with great fondness," Hooper told bathrugby.com.
" I am sad to have not been able to retire on my own terms. However, when the medical experts are telling you it's time, you have to listen to them.
"I have loved my time at Bath, made some lifelong friends and worked with some of the most talented people in the sport.
"I would like to thank all the players, coaches, staff and supporters who have helped make this such an enjoyable period of my life.
"I feel a huge amount of pride to have worn the Bath jersey and to have led this great club over the last five years. It has been an absolute honour."
Exeter-born Hooper has captained Bath for five seasons, and the club's head coach Mike Ford paid him a glowing tribute.
"'Hoops' has been an incredible asset to this club over the years, and a fantastic role model for our squad," Ford said.
"He has been the very epitome of a professional - a skilful, intelligent player, a very strong communicator and leader, and he has the respect of everyone in the game.
"We are hugely disappointed for him that he has been forced to retire and wasn't able to finish the season, but I know he will be doing all he can to assist the squad in any way he can."