England record-breaking captain Sarah Hunter to retire after Six Nations opener against Scotland

England captain Sarah Hunter is calling time on her career this weekend (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)
England captain Sarah Hunter is calling time on her career this weekend (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)

England captain Sarah Hunter will retire after the Women’s Six Nations opener against Scotland this weekend, according to BBC Sport.

Hunter, who has won a world-record 140 caps for her country, has decided to call time on her rugby career after Saturday’s clash in her home city of Newcastle.

The 37-year-old back-row forward has helped England win 10 Six Nations titles and the 2014 World Cup. She was also named named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in 2016.

She told BBC Sport: “Everything has to come to an end at some point.

“The RFU kindly put a Red Roses game finally at Newcastle, which is my home city where I grew up. I just couldn’t not give it a go to play in the game.

“I started playing rugby in Newcastle, finishing there feels like I’ve come full circle.

“When the dust settles and you can reflect on everything, I don’t think I could have asked for more in the career that I’ve had. For that I’ll be forever grateful.”

Marlie Packer is expected to take on the full-time role of captain, having been named co-captain for this Six Nations campaign.

Teammate Emily Scarratt paid tribute to the outgoing Hunter, labelling her “the best servant English rugby has ever had”.

“[She’s] somebody who set the highest standards that we’ve all tried desperately to get anywhere close to,” Scarratt told BBC. “One of the best players definitely, one of the best leaders definitely but a million per cent, one of the best people.

“I don’t know if there will ever be another Sarah Hunter but I’m very grateful to have played alongside her. If anyone deserves a long, restful and enjoyable retirement, it’s her.”