Sophie Spence retires from international rugby

Spence has played in the green jersey for five years, winning two Six Nations titles

Sophie Spence has announced her retirement from international rugby. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Sophie Spence has announced her retirement from international rugby. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Sophie Spence has retired from international rugby after five years playing in the Ireland jersey.

Spence was part of the Irish team for the recent Women’s Rugby World Cup with her try proving the clincher as Ireland beat Australia. The forward was also an integral part of Ireland’s most successful women’s rugby team ever, helping them to win two Six Nations tournaments, as well as being part of the team that recorded a historic win over New Zealand in the 2014 Rugby World Cup.

In 2015 she was a nominee for the World Rugby player of the year, RTÉ sportsperson of the year and was the Guinness Rugby writer’s player of the year.

Speaking about her retirement, Spence said: “It is with regret that I am announcing my retirement. I had hoped to finish my career after playing in one last Six Nations, but it is not to be. I have been incredibly proud to pull on the Irish jersey and to play for Ireland alongside such talented team mates.”

She added: “The women’s game is at a critical junction and I hope to see it driven forward and to receive equal level of respect and treatment of players as the men’s game. We need development of the game at underage and U20 level. Through the Rugby Academy that I run across the country I see that the appetite is there, we just need to give young girls the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in the sport.”

Spence, who has a BSc Sports Coaching Science degree and an MSc In Sports Psychology hopes that she can play a part is this development: “Coaching is my passion and I would like to give back to the sport by continuing to develop as a coach.”

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