World Cup winner Essex hangs up her boots

Becky Essex celebrates with the England squad
Becky Essex celebrates with the England squad

Horsham’s Women’s Rugby World Cup hero Becky Essex has hung up her international boots.

The 31-year-old announced her retirement from England last week admitting it was the best time to end her career.

The former Millais and Collyer’s pupil retires on top of the world after the women’s success in Paris in August.

She collected 57 caps in five years after making her debut in 2008, but has now decided to concentrate on her career as a special needs teacher, as well as club rugby at Premiership side Richmond.

Essex was part of the squad which achieved England’s first tournament success since 1994 earlier this year.

She said: “Winning the World Cup was certainly the best way to end my career. The last eight years within the England set-up has been amazing and I have many memories and friendships that I will keep forever.

“It has been an honour to represent my country and to be part of the World Cup winning team.”

The former Horsham Rugby Club player, whose parents still live in the town, starred for England in the 21-9 final win over Canada two months ago.

England head coach Gary Street said: “Becky is another one of our incredible generation of players who have balanced demanding jobs with playing international rugby.

“Becky has also been one of our most consistent players and her versatility, of being able to play anywhere in the back five, has certainly added extra dimensions to the way we have played as a squad.”