A U-turn of pace… less than a year after hanging up his boots, former Scotland captain Stuart Hogg is set to make a comeback with Montpellier

  •  Stuart Hogg quit rugby ahead of the Rugby World Cup last year in France
  • Former Glasgow and Exeter full-back said his body couldn’t take it any more
  • Since then, the 31-year-old has had a host of personal issues to deal with

Stuart Hogg is closing in on a shock move out of retirement to sign for Montpellier.

The former Scotland captain and record try-scorer elected to call time on a stellar playing career ahead of the World Cup last summer, saying he felt his body was broken and no longer able to meet the physical demands of elite rugby.

Since hanging up his boots, Hogg has juggled working as a pundit for TNT Sports and myriad personal issues that saw him undergo a period of rehabilitation.

Now the one-time Glasgow Warriors and Exeter Chiefs full-back is set to perform a seismic U-turn by coming out of retirement to play for Montpellier.

The Top 14 club are in danger of being relegated — they face a playoff later this month — but are still keen to recruit Hogg as a ‘medical joker’ to replace Anthony Bouthier, who has sustained an ACL knee injury and isn’t expected to return to action until next year.

Hogg, who turns 32 later this month, is expected to sign a contract with Montpellier at the start of next month when the new season in France officially begins.

Stuart Hogg has experienced some difficult times since retiring, including ‘rehabilitation’

Hogg enjoyed a prolific career with both club and country, and is Scotland's record try scorer

Hogg enjoyed a prolific career with both club and country, and is Scotland’s record try scorer

Hogg became a TV pundit following his retirement - but is now set to make a shock return

Hogg became a TV pundit following his retirement – but is now set to make a shock return

He had previously been linked with a move to play for hometown club Hawick — coached latterly by his brother, Graham — while there was also interest from Newcastle Falcons and a number of clubs in Japan.

Barring any late setbacks, however, Hogg will instead revive his career in the south of France having not played competitive rugby since Exeter’s defeat to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup semi-final in April 2023.

Despite the uncertainty over which division they are going to be playing in next season, ambitious Montpellier have already signed former England forward Billy Vunipola and one-time France prop Mohamed Haouas.

Sam Simmonds, Hogg’s former Exeter team-mate, is already on the books, while teenage Scottish talent Charlie Moss plays for the Montpellier 2nd XV.

Hogg is also set to appear in court next month for trial having pleading not guilty to the charge of acting in an abusive manner to his estranged wife, Gill, after being arrested outside a house in Hawick in February. 

In April, Hogg posted on social media to explain why he had felt the need to enter rehab. He wrote at the time: ‘I was lost, needed help, direction, time away from the spotlight to be able to take a deep breath and think.

‘I’ve been so concerned about what people thought of me, how I was coming across, the impact I would have on them and how I would survive the day. I lived every moment in my head and it wasn’t healthy.

‘Spending time at a rehabilitation centre allowed me to reset, learn about myself and talk about how I felt, without being judged. It’s not been easy but it was the right thing to do.

‘Taking accountability was the first step in the right direction. I accept I have made mistakes and understand why l acted as I did.’

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