Captain Brown hangs up boots

After nine years, 62 international caps, two World Cups and three seasons leading her country, Susannah Clare Brown - aged 32 years and one day - is calling time on both her Scotland and club rugby career.

She said: "I made my decision in November [2012]. It wasn't a decision I made lightly but one I came to after careful consideration when I tore my hamstring. My body can no longer train at the level it takes to be an international player these days - age has most definitely caught up with me!"

Susie began playing rugby while at Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh then continued at Glasgow University and Hillhead / Jordanhill before her job took her south of the border and to her current club, Richmond. She made her international debut against the USA in November 2004 at Murrayfield.

She said: "I'd previously had a bit of a false dawn - I was in the extended training squad for that year's 6 Nations and actually got named on the bench for the opening game but tore a ligament in the build-up. Then that summer I was in the squad for the FIRA tournament but didn't get to play.

"Finally I was chosen to start in the autumn - we always got letters saying we'd been selected - and it still rates as one of the highlights of my playing career."

In addition to that 2004 game - when she made her debut at 6 alongside current Scotland prop, Heather Lockhart (who started at no 8 that day!) - Susie rates the 2006 Rugby World Cup in Canada; the 2009 FIRA tournament - where Scotland had to qualify for the 2010 Rugby World Cup; beating France on a misty night at Lasswade in the 6 Nations 2010,

"where after the final whistle I climbed into the stand to celebrate with my beloved dad, who was my biggest supporter,"

; and her final match, last month's eleven-try victory over Sweden, as career highs.

Susie, who scored the bonus-point fourth try in that last match in Madrid, added: "I've never been part of a team who wanted to play so much for each other as we did in that game - it was an incredible experience."

Currently a deputy project manager in the Diabetes Trials Unit at the University of Oxford, she is taking a step back from rugby in the short term - "I want to give some time back to my partner and family, after all the time I've spent training and playing over the last decade, and I'd like to progress in my career. The amount of training and travelling I've done hasn't really allowed for that of late."

She said: "I would desperately love to stay involved in the sport in some capacity in the future. I plan to take a little time out to consider my options but I'll be on the sidelines to cheer the squad on for 6 Nations 2014.

"It's been an incredible nine years and I want to thank everyone who has supported me over that time and enabled me to play the sport I love for the country I love."

Scottish Rugby's Head of Performance Development, Stephen Gemmell said: "Susie has been a great ambassador for the game on and off the pitch. I was involved in coaching the women's team when she was first capped and she has continued to show great enthusiasm for the club and international game throughout her career both in Scotland and south of the border.

"I wish her all the best in her future career and welcome her desire to stay involved in rugby."