Player of the Match Packer vows to continue Hunter's legacy

·3-min read
Player of the Match Packer vows to continue Hunter's legacy

Marlie Packer vowed to continue her co-captain Sarah Hunter’s legacy as the England legend retired following the Red Roses’ 58-7 TikTok Women’s Six Nations win over Scotland, writes Sportsbeat's Milly McEvoy.

Hunter departed the pitch to a standing ovation from Kingston Park just a minute after Player of the Match Packer had crossed for the first try of her hat-trick as England ran in 10 times.

Chloe Rollie’s late consolation was not enough to stop the Red Roses from claiming a 20th Championship win in a row, with Packer believing her new England side can build on what Hunter has left behind.

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“It’s a whole new group of girls in this squad, we came together three weeks ago, and we took things back to basics,” Packer said.

“And what we talked about in these three weeks, we put that performance in on the pitch.

“Massive shoutout to Sarah Hunter, 141 caps, she came out and put in a hell of a performance.

“But for me, I’m super proud of what they've achieved tonight. And we have a day off on Monday and then we'll build again, we'll come back into camp and we go again.

“It's a really exciting time, it's an exciting time for women's sport, but for women's rugby especially.

“I'm really privileged and proud to be a part of it and the legacy that Sarah Hunter has left behind, all of us want to keep going with what she's done.”

Hunter retires having won 10 Six Nations titles, nine of them Grand Slams, and as England’s most-capped player and now passes the captain’s armband onto Packer who already led from the front in Newcastle.

Claudia MacDonald opened up the scoring before scoring the pick of the tries in the 23rd minute as Tatyana Heard sewed up the bonus point three minutes later.

Amy Cokayne claimed the last try of the first half before Poppy Cleall continued where her teammates had left off, crossing in the first minute of the second period.

In another impressive performance for the young back row, Sadia Kabeya moved England past 40 points before two debutants entered the fray.

Wasps captain Liz Crake came on for her first England appearance aged 28 as she replaced fellow debutant Mackenzie Carson and was joined by Kelsey Clifford, who took over from Sarah Bern.

Packer, who got England’s final three tries, paid tribute to Hunter, also sharing what the two roommates got up to on Hunter’s final night in camp.

She added: “I’m going to miss her massively,” Packer said. “She's been in my whole rugby journey with England and she's not just an amazing rugby player, but an amazing human.

“She put everyone else first before herself. This rose that she wears, credit to her, she puts that first all the time.

“And last night. because I was our roommate, we were actually up quite late having a laugh and I just hope this week that she's really enjoyed it and it has topped off her career because what a career she's had.”

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