Stephanie Johnston to retire from rugby

Scotland internationalist Stephanie Johnston has announced her retirement from rugby after training full-time with the GB squad ahead of Rio 2016.Stephanie Johnston to retire from rugby

Johnston won 30 caps for Scotland Women after making her debut against Italy in the 2010 Women’s Six Nations and started every Six Nations match from 2011 to 2014.

A key player in Scotland Women 7s, she captained the side in their debut season in 2012 and went on to score 105 points in the thistle.

The 30-year-old started playing rugby 10 years ago at Glasgow University and went on to play for Hillhead / Jordanhill then Royal High. In 2013, she moved to Worcester where she played in the Women's Premiership.

The former pupil of Grove Academy in Dundee, was selected to train full-time with the GB women’s squad last October with the support and investment of Scottish Rugby.

Unfortunately, after 10 months with the squad, she was not selected for Rio where women’s rugby sevens was being played for the first time as an Olympic sport.

Johnstone said: “The Olympics has been my sole focus for the past few years and in terms of going back to playing sevens and XVs, I feel I have achieved as much as I can.

“I’ve given so much for so many years, now I just need to take a step back and focus on me and see what is next outwith rugby.

“I’ve had some amazing times representing my country - I’ve been to a World Cup and I was privileged to captain Scotland Women 7s for four seasons.

Winning my first cap is something I will never forget and there’s no prouder feeling than captaining your country.

“Rugby has shaped me and who I am now and it’s taken me all over the world, including Europe, Dubai and Australia. It’s been a massive part of my life for the past decade.

“The GB girls that went out to Rio are amazing role models and it’s great to see them inspiring women and girls to get into rugby.”

Team GB’s performances at the Olympic Games has inspired over 150 women and girls across Scotland to sign up to try rugby.

If you want to see why rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world for women, then why not head along to your local club and give it a go?

Women and girls can sign up via scottishrugby.org to find out where they can make their rugby debut as teams prepare for the season ahead.

Johnston added: “You won’t regret playing rugby. I’ve loved every moment and I hope to stay involved off the pitch and give something back.”

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