Aviva Premiership: Exeter's James Hanks forced to retire because of neck injury

Last Updated: 22/04/14 3:40pm

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James Hanks: Forced to retire at age of 29

James Hanks: Forced to retire at age of 29

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Exeter Chiefs lock James Hanks has been forced to retire from the game with immediate effect.

Hanks, 29, suffered a serious neck injury during the LV= Cup semi-final win at Bath last month.

He has been told by medical experts to call time on his career after 10 years and 192 games for the club.

"I've had lots of memories over the years, but I'd say that Championship Final night at Bristol was probably the pick. It was the night things changed for all of us - not just us as players, but also for the club and for the supporters."
James Hanks

Hanks is the third Exeter player forced to retire this season because of injuries, following fellow forwards Tom Hayes and Chris Whitehead.

"I've had 10 amazing years of very special memories with the club," said Hanks. "I've had a lot of happy times, a lot of fun and I've played a small part in getting the club to where it is today.

Memories

"Personally, I don't think I could have asked for any more from my time with the Chiefs, but sadly this injury has brought my career to an end a little bit earlier than I probably envisaged.

"Whilst the injury was fairly serious, I'm relieved that I'm now on the mend and I'm looking forward to what I do next away from rugby.

"I've had lots of memories over the years, but I'd say that Championship Final night at Bristol was probably the pick. It was the night things changed for all of us - not just us as players, but also for the club and for the supporters.

"Also our trips into Europe, especially that first year going to places like Bourgoin and Montpellier - and then to the likes of Clermont, Leinster and Toulon in the Heineken Cup - they were pretty special as well and just add to what has been a fantastic time for me at the club.

"Since I made my debut all those years ago the club has come so far and I've no doubt it will continue to grow as the years go by. The support I've received from the fans, Rob and the coaches; everyone behind the scenes at the club and, most importantly, the guys I have played with over the years, who have made it a special place to play.

"None of it would have been possible without the support of my family and friends and the most important person, my fiancee Amy.

"That support has been unbelievable throughout and I can't thank everyone enough for that. Obviously it will be tough not playing and being around the club and with the boys, but I still have a life to live after rugby and I'm excited by that challenge."

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