Two of the Wallaroos and Qantas Women's Sevens best call time on careers

by Staff Writer

Two stalwarts of Australian women’s Rugby over the past decade have decided to hang up the boots after representing their country with prestige with the Wallaroos and Qantas Women’s Sevens teams.

Alex Hargreaves and Debbie Hodgkinson today announced their retirements from Rugby with much to be proud of having represented their country at the Women’s Rugby World Cup and being part of the triumphant Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens campaign.

Hargreaves and Hodgkinson joined the international women’s Rugby ranks when they debuted for the Wallaroos 10 years ago, before both joining the Australian Women’s Sevens ranks in 2008.

Qantas Women’s Sevens coach Chris Lane praised the pair for their contributions to the Australian cause, noting the two forwards left big shoes to fill.

“They’re certainly going to be missed,” Lane said.

“They’ve had long and distinguished careers, and while we have some great talent coming through the ranks it will take a little while to replace their experience.

“They added a lot of power, they were our physical presence and that will be hard to replace immediately.

“All the staff and players want to wish both of them all the best in their future endeavours.”

Hargreaves enjoyed a stellar playing career, spanning 10 years and four World Cups.

As a Wallaroo, she represented Australia at the Rugby World Cup in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

While as a member of the Australian Women’s Sevens, she won the inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009.

While still a fan of the sport, Hargreaves said 10 years of international competition had taken its toll and it was time to shift focus.

“I still love Rugby, but I need a break,” Hargreaves said.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and the thought of sticking around for the next World Cup and the Olympics in 2016 would be phenomenal, but it’s a bit too much to ask of the body.

“It’s just time for a change of priorities.”

Hargreaves enjoyed some landmark successes during her time in the sport and believes the future is bright for Australia and women’s Rugby.

“I’m certainly happy with my achievements,” Hargreaves said.

“We’re the reigning champions going into the next World Cup, so it’s exciting times for Australian Rugby.

“The most exciting thing is that it’s now an Olympic sport. That’s an amazing achievement for women’s Rugby.”

Hargreaves will now focus on her career, in pharmaceutical sales.

While Hodgkinson also represented Australia over the last 10 years, her career was one hampered by injury, with serious knee complaints ruling her out of the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

She first represented Australia in 2002, making her debut against Scotland ahead of her first Women’s Rugby World Cup in the same year.

She also played for the Wallaroos in the 2010 Rugby World Cup, overcoming a knee injury to join the squad in England.

As a member of the Australian Women’s Sevens, she first competed in 2008 during the qualifying process and was a key member of the side which won the Women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009.

Hodgkinson said while she will miss the sport, she was proud of her achievements and felt it was time to give her a body a rest.

“I’ve loved playing for Australia,” Hodgkinson said.

“I’ve ticked all the boxes. Winning the Sevens World Cup and beating New Zealand for the first time, those were pretty special experiences.

“Women’s Rugby is on the right track and there’s a lot of opportunities for the young players rising through the ranks.”

She will now shift her focus to her career as a project manager for a mining equipment company in Western Australia.

Alex Hargreaves

Height: 168cm

Weight: 72kg

Date of Birth: 13/11/1980

Place of Birth: Sydney, Australia

Senior Club: Sydney University (NSW)

Sevens (tournament) Caps: 4

Sevens Points: 10 (2T)

Sevens (tournament) Debut: 2008, Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifier, Samoa

Wallaroos Caps: 17

Wallaroos Points: 5 (1T)

Wallaroos Debut: 2002, v USA

Rep honours: NSW, ACT, Wallaroos (2002, 2006-2010), Sevens Rugby World Cup (2009), Women’s Rugby World Cup (2002, 2006, 2010), Australian Sevens (2008-2012)

Debbie Hodgkinson

Height: 178cm

Weight: 82kg

Date of Birth: 22/11/1980

Place of Birth: Middlesbrough, England

Senior Club: Cottesloe (WA)

Sevens (tournament) Caps: 6

Sevens Points: 85 (17T)

Sevens (tournament) Debut: 2008, Sevens Rugby World Cup qualifier, Samoa

Wallaroos Caps: 9

Wallaroos Points: 10 (2T)

Wallaroos Debut: 2002, v Scotland

Rep honours: Queensland, NSW, WA, VIC, Wallaroos (2002, 2009-2010), Australian Sevens (2008-2012), Sevens Rugby World Cup (2009), Women’s Rugby World Cup (2002, 2010)

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