Alumna Sarah Hunter lands pivotal Red Roses coaching role

Sarah Hunter in Loughborough Lightning rugby kit

Former Loughborough Lightning captain and Loughborough University alumna Sarah Hunter has been added to the new coaching setup at England Women’s Rugby.

Following her retirement from playing earlier this year, the 37-year-old has been appointed to the role of Transition Coach to work with both the senior women’s team and pathway programme, with a focus on forwards, breakdown, and defensive systems.

Hunter, who has a record 141 caps for the Red Roses, will work alongside newly appointed Head Coach John Mitchell who joins following the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Mitchell has almost three decades of international experience having coached in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, USA, Japan and in England where he worked with the England men’s team as forwards coach between 1997-2000 and defence coach between 2018-2021.

Hunter graduated from Loughborough in 2007 with a degree in Sports Science and Mathematics and received an honorary degree from the University in December 2022 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to rugby and achievements at the very highest level of international competition.

Widely regarded as one of the finest female rugby union players of her generation, Hunter has been an integral part of the Loughborough ecosystem since her time as a student, progressing to become one of the greatest examples of sporting excellence Loughborough has seen.

Loughborough University’s Director of Rugby, Rhys Edwards, said: “It has been a privilege to support Sarah on her player-to-coach journey and it goes without saying how much of an impact Sarah has had on the women’s game, no more recently than the growth of Lightning Rugby, over the last 6 years, into our exciting partnership with Northampton Saints.

“Sarah’s transition from world-class player to player-coach has been seamless and she has established herself as a very proficient set piece coach.

“The role with the Red Roses comes at an exciting time with a home World Cup on the horizon and we wish Sarah all the best with this new role.”