Planet Rugby

Hanks forced to call time on career

22nd April 2014 15:42


James Hanks Exeter chiefs white kit

Retiring: James Hanks

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed on Tuesday second-row James Hanks has been forced to retire from the game with immediate effect.

The long-serving forward, who sustained a serious neck injury late on in Exeter's LV= Cup semi-final win at Bath last month, has been told by medical experts to call time on his ten-year stint with the Chiefs. It's a cruel blow for the popular 29-year-old, who since making his first team debut at the old County Ground against Cornish Pirates in September 2005, and has since gone on to represent the Chiefs in 192 appearances, scoring seven tries.

The loss of Hanks is the latest setback to hit the Chiefs, who this season alone have seen fellow forwards Tom Hayes and Chris Whitehead also have to retire from the game due to injuries.

Initially handed his opportunity with the Chiefs by former Director of Rugby Ian Bremner, the former Exeter University student has since gone on to establish himself as an integral part of the club's make-up. Having honed his skills initially in the old National League One, Hanks was part of the club's Championship-winning side of 2010 that won promotion into the Premiership for the first time.

In the past four seasons, Hanks has seen gone on to feature for the Chiefs not only in English rugby's top tier, but also in Europe where he has feature in both the Heineken and Challenge Cups.

"I've had ten amazing years of very special memories with the club," said Hanks in confirming the news.

"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.

"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."

Hanks departs Sandy Park, though, as a guy who was not only hugely popular off the field, but was a relentless workhorse on the pitch with his never-say-die attitude.

"As I said, I've had lots of memories over the years, but I'd say that Championship Final night at Bristol was probably the pick," added Hanks.

"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."

Hanks says he is now looking forward to his future career, whilst also having the opportunity of working closely with local charities in the future on a number of fundraising events.

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table