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Sarah Hunter: Former England captain collects CBE medal at Buckingham Palace

Sarah Hunter won a record 138 caps for England before retiring in March this year; her career included a World Cup win in 2014 and 10 Women's Six Nations titles; the 38-year-old was awarded a CBE medal for services to rugby union by Prince William at Buckingham Palace

Sarah Hunter, former England captain collects her CBE medal
Image: Sarah Hunter collected a CBE medal or services to rugby union at Buckingham Palace on Monday

Former England Women's rugby union captain Sarah Hunter said she was "immensely proud" as she collected her CBE medal for services to the sport from Prince William at Buckingham Palace on Monday.

The 38-year-old, who retired from international rugby in March this year, added that the award "ranks right up there in my achievements", but also admitted it was and "uncomfortable" feeling to be singled out for praise.

Hunter, who won a record 138 caps and captained England to a runners-up finish at the 2021 Rugby World Cup, said upon collecting her medal: "It's such an honour.

"I started playing rugby for the love of it and never did I ever imagine that I'd be honoured in this way.

"It's kind of strange for me because rugby is the ultimate team sport, so being recognised for an individual award is fairly uncomfortable.

"But it certainly ranks right up there in my achievements, I'm immensely proud."

Image: Sarah Hunter won a record 138 caps and captained England to a runners-up finish at the 2021 Rugby World Cup

Asked if she was missing playing rugby, Hunter said: "Do you know what, I'm not. I actually enjoy not feeling beaten up and battered. I think that's a really good sign that it was time to leave.

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"I miss the camaraderie but I don't miss being out there on the pitch.

"I've been part of so many wonderful teams, it's pretty hard to leave and say goodbye, but I guess everything has to end at some point."

Since retirement, Hunter has started a new coaching role with the England team, something she discussed with the Prince of Wales when collecting her CBE.

Sarah Hunter
Image: Sarah Hunter played her last game for the Red Roses in a 58-7 win over Scotland in March this year

"He asked me what I'm doing now since I stopped playing," she said.

"England Rugby have got me back in coaching to try and help the next generation of players come through."

Hunter and William also discussed the Princess of Wales's role as a patron of England Rugby, and the time two England players "threw her up in the line-out" during a visit, she added.

Hunter was part of England's 2014 World Cup-winning side and was involved in 10 Six Nations victories during her stellar international career.

Her last game was the Red Roses' 58-7 win over Scotland in Round One of the 2023 Women's Six Nations.

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