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Hooper announces departure from Leeds
PA Sport
February 4, 2008

Leeds Carnegie have confirmed the departure of their captain Stuart Hooper when his current contract expires.

Hooper, 26, will leave the Guinness Premiership relegation favourites at the end of this season.

And his destination could be Bath, who are in the market for a second-row replacement following England lock Steve Borthwick's decision to join Saracens on a four-year deal next term.

Hooper has made made 102 appearances for Leeds in five seasons, captaining them during the past three campaigns.

He said: "This has been an extremely difficult decision to make.

"In order to be fair to the club, I wanted to make the decision about my future as soon as possible so they could plan for the future, and now we can get on with the rest of the season and progressing in the Premiership and European Challenge Cup."

Leeds rugby director Stuart Lancaster added: "We are obviously disappointed to be losing Stuart, but he is a player who has given outstanding service to the club.

"We made Stuart an extremely attractive offer to remain at the club. However, he has decided the time is right in his career to look for a fresh challenge in a new environment from next season.

"Stuart was one of the loyal players who stood by the club two years ago, and I have no hesitation at all in retaining him as captain of the club for the remainder of this season."

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