18 December 2020

World Cup winner and England ‘rugby icon’ Katy Daley-Mclean retires from international rugby

England’s World Cup winning captain Katy Daley-Mclean has retired from international rugby.

The 34 year-old, who has an 18-month old daughter, is stepping away from England just nine months out from the World Cup being held in New Zealand. She has said now is the ‘right time’ to hang up her boots.

“Having had time to reflect following the autumn internationals, I have decided now is the right time to retire from international rugby. This has been a difficult but relatively quick decision and feels like the right time,” she said.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nicky Ponsford [RFU head of women's performance] and Simon Middleton [England Women head coach] who have been great with me throughout my career and were completely understanding of my decision to retire."

She is retiring with immediate affect and so will not play for England again. That means her last match was in the autumn internationals last month when the Red Roses defeated France in the last minute of the game.

She has confirmed she will continue to play at club level for Sale Sharks in the Premier 15s.

She added: “At Sale Sharks I have found a new home and have loved my time there so far. Working with Darren Lamon and Michelle Orange, and living locally, I feel I can develop my coaching and drive something special at the club and in the region.

“Becoming a parent 18 months ago was life changing. My daughter also plays a role in my decision. I don’t want to miss out on these precious years with her and the calendar would have meant spending a lot of time away.

“I have been fortunate to be involved in four World Cup campaigns in my career and to win one. I am so grateful for the experiences the game has brought me. It has been a total privilege to be a Red Rose and I’ll be cheering louder than anyone for Simon, Sarah [Hunter] and the girls come October."

Daley-Mclean made her debut for England in 2007 against Scotland. She has gone on to earn 116 caps for the Red Roses and she scored 542 points throughout her international career.

She captained England in the 2014 World Cup when they beat Canada in the final to claim the trophy which earned her an MBE on the New Years honours list that year.

Daley-Mclean represented Team GB in the Sevens tournament in the 2016 Games and she was named in the Women’s 15s Team of the Decade earlier this month.

Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton said: “Katy is an icon of the game. The word legend is used a lot but I would tag that to her because of the consistency of her performances over such a long period of time.

"Her whole career has been about doing the best for England. She’s been part of a huge period of growth. She’s a World Cup winner, a World Cup runner-up, has won multiple Six Nations titles. Without her, would England have been as far forward as we are in this moment in time? No. She’s been as instrumental as anyone in taking the game forward and that should be recognised.

“Katy is an unbelievable motivator. There are few people you’ll stand in a circle with and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when they speak. Mine do, when she speaks. She is the most passionate England player you can imagine. When she talks, people listen. She knows how to motivate a group of people. She’s a captain I would have played for, without a shadow of a doubt. She knows how to get people in the right place to run through walls."

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