Alphonsi, McGilchrist and Merchant retire from England duty

England flanker Margaret Alphonsi
England flanker Margaret Alphonsi won 74 caps for England and was awarded an MBE for services to rugby

Three of England Women's World Cup-winning side have announced their retirement from international rugby.

Flanker Margaret Alphonsi, second row Joanna McGilchrist and wing Katherine Merchant have all decided to end their England careers with immediate effect.

All three players played an instrumental part during England's 21-9 triumph against Canada in August.

Alphonsi made her debut against the USA in 2003, while Merchant has collected 58 caps and scored 44 England tries.

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Lock McGilchrist won her 63rd and final cap in the World Cup final, having made her international bow against Scotland in 2007.

Commenting on the retirement of Alphonsi, England head coach Gary Street said: "One of the most pleasing things about winning the World Cup is the recognition that Maggie has had.

"In my eyes she has been a world champion for the 11 years she has been playing for England. She plays every international like it's a World Cup final.

"It's only fitting this is now officially recognised with a gold medal."

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