From being the third generation of her family to play for Forest of Dean outfit Drybrook RFC through to starring for England and Great Britain, Mo Hunt has had an incredible journey from grassroots rugby to the very top of the game.

And the Gloucester-Hartpury player did not need a second invitation to chat about the special jerseys she has worn for club and country when asked to appear on World Rugby’s YouTube TV Series, Jersey Tales.

“I remember standing in my grandma’s kitchen and saying, ‘one day I want to play for England, I don’t know what sport, I just want to play for England’, and she just laughed. Fortunately for me, that drive and determination has paid off.”

And some!

Not only has the 32-year-old scrum-half won 56 caps for the Red Roses, she has played in the final of Rugby World Cup 2017 and represented Great Britain not once but twice at an Olympic Games.

One of her favourite jerseys in 15s is the one she wore when England beat New Zealand in New Zealand in 2017.

“Just before the World Cup, we went out to New Zealand and we had a series against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. We played New Zealand as a curtain-raiser for the Māori All Blacks v the Lions game which was just unreal.

“It was in a brilliant stadium, the crowds were coming on and there were loads of people on the banks and the whole atmosphere was just amazing.

“We were lucky enough to play some really good rugby and came away with a win which was obviously huge for us because we hadn’t gone out to New Zealand and won in a very long time.

“I have really fond memories of that; it was with a special group of girls.”

Fairytale return

Hunt’s fairytale return to the England team in November 2020 after being laid low by COVID-19 was an emotional time for her. The Red Roses won 25-23 with the last kick of the game.

“This was really special because I’d missed out on the end of the Six Nations Grand Slam-winning game against Italy that I was selected for and was due to start but then, in the week leading into it, I came back with a positive covid test and I had to sit on the sofa and watch the girls do the Grand Slam thing.

“Coming back, my COVID-19 return has been a bit shaky, I did struggle a bit with my lungs, I couldn’t really get air into them, and it was all a bit weird.

“I remember being in the (training) session on the Wednesday before the (France) game, which wasn’t even meant to be that savage, and I just literally felt like I couldn’t breathe so I was a little bit stressed about that because I like to play quite fast and I like to be on it the whole time.

“But we got there and played France at Twickenham and we managed to win with the last kick of the game through Emily Scarratt’s boot, the classic one. It was just awesome to be out there with the girls.”

Hunt has also had a stellar sevens career, the pinnacle of which was undoubtedly appearing at the Rio and Tokyo Olympics, where Team GB finished fourth on both occasions.

While gutted that she didn’t win a medal at either tournament, Hunt says it was incredible to experience being involved in something so big.

“I never thought this would be an opportunity, that I’d ever get the chance to be involved in an Olympics Games so to be there was amazing.

“We didn’t go to the opening ceremony in Rio because our first game was one of the first games the next day and I remember standing on the balcony watching the sheer swarms of people go to it and it being a wake-up call about how big this actually is.

“I was gutted to come fourth but you can’t take away from the fact that I’ve been to the Olympics.”

Read more: “Lost for words” – World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year award winner Zoe Aldcroft >>