Newcastle Falcons hooker Rob Hawkins is announcing his retirement from rugby at the end of the current season as he pursues a new career with the Police.
The 33-year-old has made 16 senior appearances for the Falcons since joining from Leicester Tigers in 2014, and has been working for the Police on a voluntary part-time basis since November as a Special Constable.
The Taunton-born hooker enjoyed successful spells with Bath Rugby (2003-2011) and Leicester Tigers (2011-2014) prior to joining Newcastle, the 2012-13 Premiership title winner retiring from the game with over 130 top-flight appearances to his name.
Hawkins said: "I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to retire on my own terms and I feel hugely lucky to have spent such a long period in the game. I have enjoyed each and every moment of my career, representing three fantastic clubs, winning trophies and taking the pitch with so many outstanding players along the way.
"I’m now hoping to have a successful career in the Police, I’m currently in the application process and I’m excited about what lies ahead. I would like to thank the Rugby Players’ Association for giving me the opportunity to sit on the players’ board this season as an RPA player rep. I appreciate the work they do and it’s been an incredible insight into the business of the game."
Newcastle Falcons’ director of rugby Dean Richards, himself a former Policeman, said: "Rob has been a fantastic professional throughout his time at the club and we were happy to help facilitate his role as a Special Constable with Northumbria Police over the last six months.
"Having worked for a number of years in the Police myself I know Rob has all the attributes required to make a success of his intended new career, and he leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everybody at Newcastle Falcons."
RPA group chief executive Damian Hopley said: "Rob has been an eminent member of the RPA players' board since taking over as our Newcastle player rep this season. As you would expect from a seasoned professional, Rob takes his duties of representing his fellow players very seriously and has been a really positive influence at all three clubs he has represented with great distinction.
"Rugby always had a very strong relationship with the Police force in the amateur era and it is great to see Rob continuing that connection in his retirement from playing. We wish him every success going forward and I have no doubt that he will have continued success in any potential new role."