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Home > News > Former England Women's captain Spencer retires
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Your News Former England Women's captain Spencer retires

Former England Captain Catherine Spencer has today announced her retirement from international and domestic rugby.

Spencer, who most recently led England to the 2010 Rugby World Cup Final, has made the decision to hang up her rugby boots after seven years of international rugby.

Since making her international debut against Wales in 2004, the England and Bristol No. 8 has notched up 63 caps and scored 18 tries. During her captaincy, Spencer led England to four Six Nations titles. She also captained England to their first victory in eight years over reigning world champions New Zealand and did so on her 50th cap. In that game she scored a try and was named Player of the Match. She has also featured in two Rugby World Cup finals.

After seven years playing rugby for England and over 15 years of competitive rugby I now feel it is the right time to hang up my boots, said the 31-year-old, who helped England secure a record breaking sixth Six Nations title on Friday. This is an emotional decision but definitely the right one. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time playing for England and have experienced many highs and lows with the squad.

Losing two World Cup finals was incredibly gutting at the time but looking back they are certainly very proud moments. Beating the World Champions New Zealand at Twickenham in November 2009 was probably one of the stand out moments of my career as was beating France in France in 2006 after two years of losing to them.

Spencer first started playing rugby at the age of eight at Folkestone RFC and was the first England player to represent her country whilst playing for a non premiership club, only moving to a top flight club in 2007.

She added: There have been many influential people in my career but I would especially like to thank my family, who have been a great support throughout my career. They have been with me every step of the way and have been a huge inspiration to me over the years. I would also like to thank my first club Folkestone. I started my rugby life there playing alongside my twin brother in our minis team. I am still a member of Folkestone having been awarded an honorary Life Vice Presidency and still regularly pop into the club. They are a great family club and although I am lucky to have experienced rugby at the top end they are the epitome of what makes rugby such a truly fantastic sport.

I will continue to be an avid supporter of the England team. However I leave at a time when the team is continuing to go from strength to strength. I have had the privilege of playing in a world class back row, in the early years alongside Helen Clayton and Georgia Stevens and presently alongside Maggie Alphonsi. It is heartening to know that the standard of this unit is in safe hands Heather Fisher and Sarah Hunter have come to the fore and, alongside Maggie, they will help ensure that England will continue to excel in this area.

England Head Coach Gary Street, who appointed Spencer in his first term, added: Catherine is one of the great players in the modern era whose physical presence dominated many games. She captained my first game in charge for England and developed her captaincy skills culminating in an outstanding effort, on and off the pitch, during the World Cup. One of her finest days was winning her 50th cap at Twickenham, leading the side in our defeat of New Zealand and scoring an unforgettable try. Her tireless work off the field has helped develop the profile of the womens game and she will continue to do this in her working role within the RFUW. Her cool demeanour disguises her beating rugby heart and she will be truly missed.

In the short term Spencer is swapping her rugby my boots for some trainers, running the Paris Marathon on April 10th April in aid of the Tag Rugby Trust, a charity she is patron of. For more information on The Tag Rugby Trust visit www.tagrugbytrust.co.uk or to sponsor Spencer go to http://www.justgiving.com/TRTParisRunners.

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