Connacht winger Alex Wootton has announced his intention to retire from professional rugby at the end of the season.
he 28-year-old, who spent five years at Munster before joining Connacht in 2021, has decided to bow out on his own terms and focus on life outside of rugby.
Wootton was born in England, but is Irish-qualified through his dad, who hails from Down. The winger represented Ireland Sevens and the Ireland U-20s.
He recently scored a hat-trick in Connacht’s Challenge Cup win over Brive, but he has been in and out of the team this season.
In his three years at the Sportsground, having joined initially on a one-year long deal from Munster in 2020 before signing a two-year contract, Wootton has played 40 times for Connacht, scoring 18 tries.
He will hope to play a part in Connacht’s run-in before he hangs up his boots.
“After 11 incredible years playing professionally for Northampton Saints, Munster, Connacht and representing Ireland 7s,” Wootton said.
“I have decided to retire from professional rugby on my own terms at the end of the 2022/23 season.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that rugby has afforded me and I would like to express my gratitude to my teammates, coaches, support staff and fans over the years who have been with me every step of the way. Playing alongside such talented and dedicated individuals has been an absolute privilege.
“I would also like to give a special mention to my wife and my family, who have been a constant source of love, support and encouragement throughout my rugby career. Their unwavering presence and understanding have been instrumental in my success.
“Retiring from rugby is the right decision for me and my loved ones. I am excited about the opportunities that await me in the next chapter of my life and I look forward to embracing new challenges with the same passion and dedication that I brought to the rugby field.
“I want to extend my appreciation to everyone who has been a part of my journey. It has been an incredible ride, one that I will always cherish and hold dear to my heart.”
A statement from the western province added:
“Everyone at Connacht Rugby thanks Alex for his contribution to the club during his time here and we wish him and his family every happiness in the future.”