Sarah Hunter will become England’s most capped player when she captains her country in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Australia.
Hunter, 37, is set to make her 138th appearance for the Red Roses in Auckland, surpassing the previous record held by Rochelle Clark, while Sarah Bern will win her 50th cap.
No player in the men’s or women’s game has played for England more than Hunter, and coach Simon Middleton paid tribute to the number eight.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) October 27, 2022
Middleton, who named his team for the last-eight clash on Thursday, said: “Sunday is a special day for two Red Roses.
“I’d like to give a special mention to Sarah Hunter, who becomes the most capped England player of all time across the men’s and women’s game.
“To earn 138 caps for your country is a remarkable achievement and deserves to be celebrated. The way she conducts herself in everything she does both on and off the field is admirable.
“Her people skills, ability to lead and communicate with people from all walks of life makes her stand out. She takes pride in everything she does and does it to the best of her ability.
“I think as a sports person the one thing you hope you can do when you look back is to be able to say to yourself, ‘I couldn’t have given more, I’ve been the best I could be’ – Sarah is one of the very few who will be able to unequivocally do that. She is a unique person and captain.”
On 25-year-old prop Bern, Middleton added: “Sarah Bern also reaches 50 caps, which is remarkable for someone so young.
“Sarah broke onto the scene at a young age and has become an integral part of our group from both a playing and leadership perspective. We’re delighted for her.”
Tatyana Heard keeps her place at inside centre after her impressive performance against South Africa last weekend.