Women’s Six Nations 2024: Former England captain Sarah Hunter now comfortable as a coach

Sarah Hunter and Jess Breach
Sarah Hunter (left) has no issue coaching players she has played with
Venue: Twickenham Stadium Date: Saturday, 20 April Kick-off: 14:15 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and online; text commentary, highlights and report on BBC Sport website and app.

England’s most-capped player Sarah Hunter admits she was initially not “comfortable” in her new role as defence coach, but now feels she is settling in.

The 38-year-old retired last season after victory over Scotland at Kingston Park in her side’s opening Women’s Six Nations game.

The former England captain then started her new role in September.

“I do feel over time that it has got a little bit easier,” Hunter said.

“It is more seamless now than maybe I felt at the start.”

England’s defence under Hunter has been impressive during the Six Nations, with no points conceded against Italy and Scotland.

“Did I feel comfortable at the start? Absolutely not. It was just a bit of the unknown, I guess, which was definitely something I had not prepared for,” the most-capped player in women’s rugby added.

“Not that I [thought I] would be graceful like a swan – but on the surface, I was kind of pretending I knew what I was doing when under the water I was like: ‘Am I doing the right thing?'”

The Red Roses remain on course to secure a third successive Grand Slam and a sixth successive Six Nations title, and welcome Ireland to Twickenham on Saturday, with a crowd of more than 45,000 expected.

However, the long-term goal remains success at a home World Cup in 2025, which was a big reason in Hunter taking on her new role.

“I have been able to come back in with the timing of it, in terms of where the game is going and building,” the former England captain said.

“The fact there is a home World Cup next year… I knew I was never going to make it [to that tournament] as a player but there was always the feeling that if I was a year or two younger, I might have been able to make it.

“I do feel fortunate I have been given the opportunity to do that [as a coach] and be involved in the game at its most exciting and biggest time.”

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