Yorkshire Carnegie were saddened to hear the news today that former captain Stuart Hooper has been forced to retire from the game with immediate effect due to injury.
Stuart Hooper moved to Headingley Carnegie in June 2003 from Saracens and prior to this he had already represented England at Under 21 level.
Originally, signed as an up and coming player he was pressed into immediate action when Tom Palmer was injured on tour in the summer of 2003. That started an impressive first season for "Hoops" and gave Leeds fans a taste of his future potential. He made 20 starts in his first season and appeared in 17 out of 22 Zurich Premiership games.
He was a natural leader and his presence in the starting line up for the final games of the 2004-05 season proved vital in helping lift the team to win deciding league games to help them retain their Premiership status. Stuart became part of the club's history when he lined up in the sides first ever Twickenham final and then collected his first winners medal of his career when they lifted the Powergen Cup.
A passionate and committed player, Stuart was a natural choice as captain and ahead of the 2005-06 he was handed the captain's armband by Phil Davies. That season however was to end disappointingly for the club, with the team relegated from the Premiership after finishing bottom of the league.
Despite earning a number of admirers in he Premiership Stuart showed his loyalty by committing his future to Leeds, with the determination to lead them back to the top flight. The team achieved this feat at the first attempt, finishing top of National Division One to clinch promotion. With some exceptional performances combined with his inspirational leadership Stuart was once again a key figure in the club's success.
The following season Stuart led the team in their Guinness Premiership campaign however despite some brave performances the side were unable to get the results they needed to secure their safety and were once again relegated from the top flight. Hooper made a further 25 appearances for the club and scored 4 tries before leaving the club at the end of the season to return home to the south west with Bath.
In total Stuart made 99 starts and 13 appearances from the bench and scored 8 tries for the club.
He broke into the Saracens team whilst still a teenager. He made over 30 appearances for them before moving North. Originally from the South West, Hooper attended Ivybridge Community College. In 2005 Stuart was called up to play for England A against France and was part of their Churchill Cup success.
He made 192 appearances for Bath from 2008 to 2016. He suffered a back injury earlier this season, and has since received medical advice that he should not play again.