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Harlequins quintet to retire at the end of the season

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Rachael Burford of Harlequins Women runs onto the field, mascot in hand, prior to the Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby match between Harlequins and Gloucester-Hartpury at Twickenham Stadium on December 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Harlequins Women have announced a series of retirements ahead of their final Premiership Women’s Rugby match of the season this weekend. 

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Former England internationals Rachael Burford, Shaunagh Brown, and Emily Scott are among those calling time on their playing careers. Club stalwarts Katy Mew and Georgia Gray will also retire at the completion of the season. 

Both Burford and Brown started playing rugby at Medway RFC in Kent, and went on to flourish on club and international stages. 

Centre Burford, who earned 84 caps for England, won the Rugby World Cup in 2014, and spent seven years wearing the famous Harlequins quarters.

The 37-year-old additionally represented England at the 2006, 2010, and 2017 Rugby World Cups, was also involved in two Grand Slams, and was part of the 2020/21 Premiership-winning Harlequins side.

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Brown, who initially retired in 2022 but made a comeback for the 2023/24 season, recently reached her 100th appearance for Harlequins, and earned 30 caps for England between 2017 and 2022.  

During her time in an England shirt, she was a key figure in four consecutive Six Nations Grand Slams and featured in the Rugby World Cup in 2022, her final Test match being the World Cup final. 

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The 34-year-old initially announced her retirement in December 2022 before she embarked on a short-term coaching role in the Cayman Islands, but made her return to The Stoop for one final season last summer. 

Scott was capped 38 times for England after making her debut in 2013 against France and additionally represented Team GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where she and the sevens team won bronze.

She was involved in two Premiership titles, previously winning with Saracens before helping Quins win in the 2020/21 season, starting at fly-half in the final.

Mew joined Harlequins in the 2018/19 season and played every minute of their victorious final in 2021. A key figure in the Quins quarters, she departs the club after six seasons. 

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Speaking on her retirement, Mew said on the club’s social media: “It’s been a very hard decision to hang up my boots, but it’s the right decision for me. Just over a year ago, I had a nasty hip injury that doctors told me could potentially be career-ending. I’d like to leave Harlequins with my head held high to say that I proved them wrong and that I came back and returned to the pitch wearing the famous Quins jersey.”

Gray, described on the team’s social media as being ‘there since the beginning’, started her top-flight rugby career at Harlequins, before briefly moving to local rivals Richmond. Upon her return to The Stoop in 2020 she went on to feature in their league victory in 2021.

Harlequins face their newest local rivals Trailfinders Women in the final match of their PWR season on Sunday at Twickenham Stoop, and sit sixth in the table going into the final round of the regular season. Opponents Trailfinders are currently only four points behind in seventh as they approach the final match of their debut PWR season.

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2 Comments
B
Brian 17 days ago

Rachel Burford had the best pass in women’s rugby and was a class act. Jill Scott would have had many more England caps if the competition for places had not been so keen. Many other nations would have welcomed her.

C
Courtney 19 days ago

Rachael Burford has been such a stalwart for England Rugby and one of the best centres of her generation, she is a great ambassador for women’s sport. Shaunagh Brown will continue to inspire others long during her retirement.

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