Nick Heath provides insight into the back-rower who has been playing international rugby for more than a decade

Who is Sarah Hunter: Ten things you should know about the England captain

With more than ten years’ experience of Test rugby and more than 100 caps, it’s little wonder back-rower Sarah Hunter has been such an inspirational captain for the Red Roses.

Ten things you should know about Sarah Hunter

1. Sarah Hunter was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 19 September 1985. Her nickname, earned as a fresher at Loughborough University, is ‘Sunter’.

2. Aged nine, she was introduced to rugby league at school and went on to play at Longbenton and Gateshead Panthers. She accepted invitations to play on the hallowed Wembley turf ahead of international rugby league matches, doing so twice.

3. Look out! Because Hunter gives such great reactions when made to jump, her team-mates are constantly making her the target of their attempts to shock and surprise her during training camps.

4. She began playing with Lichfield Ladies in 2004. She moved to Bristol in 2015 and then joined Loughborough Lightning where she has been captain and is now a player-coach.

5. She began her rugby union life as an inside-centre but at U19 level she made the move to the back row. She cites her coach at Novocastrians RFC, Graeme Cooper, with helping her with that transition.

6. Hunter made her England debut in 2007 and was named World Player of the Year in 2016.

She was part of the Red Roses squad that became world champions by winning the 2014 Rugby World Cup.

7. She won her 100th international cap at the Stoop before England thrashed Canada 49-12 in 2017. It was an emotional occasion as her brother and her niece surprised her in the crowd alongside her parents.

8. She was appointed an MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to rugby.

9. She followed Marcus Rashford’s lead and provided free school meal vouchers for her former primary school in 2020.

10. Hunter had a nerve injury in her neck in 2020, which she described as the “toughest injury I have ever had” which kept her out of action for 13 months. She returned for England off the bench in the 2021 Women’s Six Nations final as England won the championship.

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