Long-serving England out-half Katy Daley-Mclean has called time on her international career with immediate effect. The 34-year-old, who led England to World Cup victory in 2014, retires on 116 caps, having become England’s third most capped player of all time in the autumn international against France last month.

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Daley-Mclean, who made her Test debut against Scotland in February 2007, featured in four World Cups with England and was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List for services to rugby.

The South Shields-born back also won eight women’s Six Nations Grand Slam titles and played sevens for Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She earned her 100th cap in England’s victory over the USA in 2018 and scored 542 points throughout her international career.

Over the last 12 months, Daley-Mclean was nominated for World Rugby world player of the year at 33, scored a try against Wales in front of a 10,974-strong crowd at Twickenham Stoop in March 2020 and was recently named at fly-half in World Rugby’s women’s 15s team of the decade.

At club level, Daley-Mclean represented Darlington Mowden Park Sharks and Loughborough Lightning before taking on a player-coach role at Allianz Premier 15s newcomers Sale Sharks Women at the start of the 2020/21 season, a role she will continue for the remainder of the campaign.

Daley-Mclean said: “Having had time to reflect following the autumn internationals, I have decided now is the right time to retire from international rugby. This has been a difficult but relatively quick decision and feels like the right time. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Nicky Ponsford (RFU head of women’s performance) and Simon Middleton (England Women head coach) who have been great with me throughout my career and were completely understanding of my decision to retire.

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“At Sale Sharks, I have found a new home and have loved my time there so far. Working with Darren Lamon and Michelle Orange, and living locally, I feel I can develop my coaching and drive something special at the club and in the region.

“Becoming a parent 18 months ago was life-changing. My daughter also plays a role in my decision. I don’t want to miss out on these precious years with her and the calendar would have meant spending a lot of time away.

“I have been fortunate to be involved in four World Cup campaigns in my career and to win one. I’m so grateful for the experiences the game has brought me. It has been a total privilege to be a Red Rose and I’ll be cheering louder than anyone for Simon, Sarah and the girls come October. I’ll be the team’s number one fan.”

England boss Middleton added: “Katy is an icon of the game. The word legend is used a lot but I would tag that to her because of the consistency of her performances over such a long period of time.

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“The influence she’s had on the women’s game worldwide for England has been absolutely sensational. Katy has continually adapted and shown her versatility as a player and her technical and tactical understanding as a player to play at the level she has for so long in such a pivotal position is incredible.”

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