Sarah Hunter: England rugby union captain to retire after Women's Six Nations opener in Newcastle

The 37-year-old - from North Shields - is England's most capped player. Credit: PA Images.

Sarah Hunter will retire after England's Women's Six Nations match against Scotland in her home city of Newcastle on Saturday (25 March).

The 37-year-old - from North Shields - is England's most capped player, with 140 appearances, and has spent the last 16 years as an international.

She has chosen her 16th Women's Six Nations tournament opener at Kingston Park as her final match.

“Not many athletes get to choose how and when they call time on their playing careers,” Hunter said.

“I’m very fortunate that I have the opportunity to finish on my own terms.

She added: I couldn’t think of a better way to do it than in my home town where my rugby journey started.“

The back-row forward first played rugby union at Kingston Park, and started out playing rugby league as a nine-year-old at Goathland Primary School in Longbenton, Newcastle.

The Red Roses captain was part of the squad that won the 2014 World, Cup and was also captain when the national team reached the finals in 2017 and 2022.

Hunter said: “I get to finish in a place that has a special place in my heart in front of my friends, family and Red Roses supporters and I feel very fortunate that I’m able to do that.“

"To play there in a white shirt – which is something I’ve been immensely proud of and I feel very honoured to have represented my country so many times – feels like an ending I couldn’t look past and I feel very fortunate that I get to do this.”

The 2016 women's world player of the year will continue to coach Loughborough Lightning until the end of the season.

"Sarah is the most honest and professional player I have ever known let alone worked with,” England coach Simon Middleton said.

“Throughout her career her commitment to being the best version of herself at every opportunity has shone through in her attention to detail and faultless preparation.

He added: “She’s an absolute inspiration for everybody who has played with her or worked with her and is the ultimate example to every young person who would want to play.“

"The word legend is overused but it’s most definitely not in her case, she is and will always be a true England legend.”

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