An inspirational leader who loved her sport – Sarah Hunter pays tribute to Queen

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England rugby union captain Sarah Hunter has described the Queen as “an inspirational leader”.

Hunter paid tribute as the Red Roses squad continued preparations for their final World Cup warm-up game against Wales in Bristol on Wednesday.

England will head to the tournament in New Zealand next month as favourites to be crowned world champions.

“Much like the whole nation and around the world, it was a deeply moving day when we learnt of the news that the Queen had sadly passed away,” Hunter said.

“She has been such a mainstay within the whole of the squad, an inspirational leader and a female leader at that. She has given her life to head this country.

“It was very noticeable coming into camp the following day that there was definitely a sombre note and that a big loss had happened.

“While we are not her direct family, the team is still grieving for a woman who has done so much for this country who sadly is no longer here.

“What we can do over the next few days is to pay tribute to a woman who loved her sport.

“The timing of the fact that it’s us versus Wales is a significant moment, so hopefully we will be able to pay our respects in the utmost way for someone who has done so much for this country.”