Wales climb World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini
Saturday’s emphatic 31-5 victory over Ireland makes them the highest-ranked of the two nations.
Sarah Hunter was unequivocal last week when asked what she would miss most about playing rugby.
“Team-mates,” Hunter said. “Going into battle with them for England has been the biggest honour, but the off-the-pitch stuff, the gym sessions where you see people… just being in this group, the people are so unique and so diverse.
“For me, at least, I think it’s the people I’ll miss the most.”
It’s fair to say, following a test career in which she has worn the Red Rose with such distinction that those team-mates will miss her immensely too.
Hunter brought the curtain down on her trophy-laden playing career on Saturday, playing 59 minutes of England’s 58-7 Women’s Six Nations win against Scotland before departing the Kingston Park pitch to a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
And so, as the now former Red Roses captain begins life as a fan, we take a look at the stunning statistics that have underpinned her time in test rugby.
1 – Hunter was named World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in 2016.
2 – tries she scored at Rugby World Cups. The first came against Canada at Rugby World Cup 2014 and the second helped England to a 41-5 defeat of Australia in the RWC 2021 quarter-finals.
3 – full-time England head coaches that Hunter played under. Geoff Richards gave the back-row her debut in 2007, she won RWC 2014 with Gary Street and led the Red Roses on a world-record winning run with Simon Middleton.
4 – Rugby World Cup finals in which Hunter represented England (captaining the side in two of those matches). She lifted the trophy with Katy Daley-Mclean in 2014, but lost to New Zealand in the 2010, 2017 and 2021 finals.
10 – Women’s Six Nations-winning campaigns Hunter was involved in as a player, including eight Grand Slams.
11 – times Hunter captained England at Rugby World Cups. Only Farah Palmer (12) and Richie McCaw (13) have led a team in more tournament matches. Will Carling and Martin Johnson each captained England in 11 men’s Rugby World Cup games.
15 – the number of countries she faced while representing England. Of those nations, only four – Canada, France, Ireland and New Zealand – ever beat a Red Roses team containing Hunter.
17 – matches against the Black Ferns, of which she won seven, lost nine and drew one. The 8-8 stalemate at Esher in December 2011 was one of only two draws she was involved in as a test player.
19 – matches Hunter played at Rugby World Cups. She made her tournament debut as a replacement against Ireland on 20 August, 2010.
26 – tests she played against France (20 wins, six defeats), more than any other nation. Meanwhile, Hunter took to the pitch once each against Kazakhstan, Samoa, Sweden and Fiji.
30 – the record run of consecutive victories she led the Red Roses on from July 2019 to November 2022.
31 – tries she scored for England. Hunter first crossed the whitewash for the Red Roses during a 55-0 win over Wales at the beginning of the 2008 Women’s Six Nations.
85 – times she captained England during her career. Only Sergio Parisse (93) and Richie McCaw (110) have led a men’s or women’s test team on more occasions.
85.1 – Hunter’s win percentage in an England jersey. She won her first 22 matches for the Red Roses, a run ended by defeat to the Black Ferns in the RWC 2010 final.
141 – caps Hunter won for England, more than any other player – male or female. She made her debut as a late replacement against Scotland during the 2007 Women’s Six Nations and made her final appearance against the same opposition 16 years later.
5,032 – points England scored in the 141 matches in which Hunter featured, conceding only 1,461.