Jed Hooper on Thursday became the UK's second professional rugby player to come out gay during his career, the UK's Evening Post reported. Gareth Thomas came out nearly two years ago, and has since retired.

Hooper, the 22-year-old captain of the Old Redcliffians, said he made his announcement on social networks.

“I was never going to do it bit by bit, that would have been too drawn out, so I decided to text everyone and also put it on Facebook,” Hooper said. “I was horribly nervous. I wrote and rewrote the text four or five times, and I had my finger on the 'send' button for ages before I finally pushed it.”

Hooper said the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. He said he told the team's chairman that “if the club doesn't want a gay man as its figurehead I would understand and step down.”

“But he was brilliant and said, 'You're our captain and this doesn't change anything.' That support was massive to me.”

And he gave a bit of advice: “If anyone is reading this and they're in the same situation as me, all I want too say is don't bottle things up because, trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The world's not against you. If my story can help one person, then this has been worth it.”