Scotland legend Stuart Hogg performs huge U-turn: new club revealed, contract length, leaving 'darkest times'

Scotland centurion set to play in Top 14 next season

The Stuart Hogg comeback looks very much to be on after the owner of Montpellier confirmed that the former Scotland full-back had signed a contract with the French team.

At a press conference on Tuesday to announce a new-look coaching team, Mohed Altrad, the club president, also revealed that Hogg has penned a two-year deal with the option of a third year, according to a report in the respected French news outlet L’Equipe.

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It means the player will be coming out of retirement to play in the Top 14. Montpellier retained their top-flight status at the weekend after beating Grenoble in a relegation play-off.

Stuart Hogg is set to join Montpellier after coming out of retirement.Stuart Hogg is set to join Montpellier after coming out of retirement.
Stuart Hogg is set to join Montpellier after coming out of retirement. | Getty Images

Hogg, who turns 32 on Monday, called time on his rugby career last July, stating that “my body has not been able to do the things I wanted and needed it to do”. He had originally intended to retire after the 2023 Rugby World Cup but brought the decision forward and missed out on the tournament in France.

However, he has hinted at a return to the game in recent months, saying he missed the match-day buzz. He has spoken about playing for his hometown club Hawick and there was also a report linking him with Newcastle Falcons.

But it now looks like he will restart his career in the south of France in arguably Europe’s most competitive league. Montpellier are traditionally one of the Top 14’s heavyweights but endured a difficult 2023-24 season, finishing second bottom. They scraped through against Grenbole to avoid the drop into Pro D2 and Hogg will now try to help revive their fortunes.

His last competitive game was on April 30 last year when he came off the bench for Exeter Chiefs in their Champions Cup semi-final defeat against La Rochelle. He has endured a number of serious injuries over the course of a glittering career which began with Hawick and scaled the heights with Glasgow Warriors, Exeter and Scotland. He cited this as a reason for his retirement but now appears ready to give the game another go. Montpellier were looking for a new full-back after losing Anthony Bouthier to a serious knee injury. Bouthier ruptured his cruciate ligament and will not play until 2025.

Hogg played his last match for Scotland against Ireland in March last year.Hogg played his last match for Scotland against Ireland in March last year.
Hogg played his last match for Scotland against Ireland in March last year. | Getty Images

He has struggled during retirement and underwent a very public marriage break-up. Hogg appeared at Jedburgh Sheriff Court in May, charged with acting in an abusive manner towards his estranged wife. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to stay away from her ahead of a trial in July.

He had a stint in rehab earlier this year which he revealed with a lengthy post on social media in April. Hogg said he had been through “the darkest of times”.

“I was lost, needed help, direction, time away from the spotlight to be able to take a deep breath and think,” he wrote. “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.

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“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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