Former Wales star James Hook is to retire at the end of the season when his Ospreys contract expires.

Hook's career spans 16 years and boasts 81 caps in almost a decade spent in the international arena and also includes 148 appearances for the Welsh region.

The 34-year-old from Port Talbot, who can play at fly-half and centre, signed his first professional contract in 2005 and reflects positively on his time in the sport.

"It's sad but something I'm really looking forward to. It comes to everyone at some point and now it's time for me," he said.

"I've had lots of highlights, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations and going on the Lions tour in 2009.

"Then signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player.

"You never think it'll actually happen so when it did it really was amazing."

"I'm looking forward to what's next"

Hook spent six years at Perpignan and Gloucester, but started and ended his career at the Ospreys to become their second highest points scorer with 841.

He has written a series of children's books that are due to be published later this year, but he will not be leaving rugby behind entirely.

"I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills, like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides, and I'm hoping to finish my level three coaching qualification," Hook said.

"It'll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys and my wife. It's going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you've got to be positive and look on the bright side and I'm looking forward to what's next."