Two rugby union stars featured in the King's Birthday Honours list for their services to the sport

Former England rugby captain Sarah Hunter was given a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Hunter called time on her glittering rugby playing career earlier this year after amassing a record 141 caps for her country.

The 37-year-old from North Shields first represented England in 2007 and captained them to the 2014 World Cup triumph and played domestically for the trailblazing Lichfield  Ladies, Bristol Ladies and Loughborough Lightning.

Responding to the CBE on Twitter, Hunter wrote: “So unbelievably proud and honoured to receive this award. To be recognised in this way is still taking time to sink in!

“I’m just an ordinary girl from the North East of England who’s had an incredible time playing rugby. Thank you so much!”

King's Birthday Honours List

Sara Cox was the referee when Wasps faced Northampton Saints in Premiership Cup game

Sara Cox receives MBE honour

Hunter was one of two prominent women in rugby union to receive an honour in the King’s Birthday Honours List.
Referee Sara Cox was awarded an MBE for her services to the game.

Cox became the first female referee centrally contracted in the world in 2016, was the first female to referee an English Premiership match when she took charge of Harlequins versus Worcester Warriors at The Stoop having previously refereed in the Premiership Cup too back in 2018. Cox has also refereed at three Women’s Rugby World Cups.

The Devon native, who gave up her own playing career due to injury, swiftly switched her Twitter handle to Sara Cox MBE – Referee (the last word included to avoid being confused with her radio/TV celebrity namesake) and responded by saying: “A huge thank you to everyone for the well wishes and support yesterday. It’s an honour and privilege to have been given such a recognition. Also, a huge congrats to @sarah_hunter8  too. What an incredible inspiration within rugby.”

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