England rugby captain Sarah Hunter writes inspirational open letter to the NHS and the country that owes it so much

Hunter uses core values of rugby to suggest how we cope in these difficult times  (PA Images)
Hunter uses core values of rugby to suggest how we cope in these difficult times (PA Images)
23:32pm, Fri 03 Apr 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

England rugby captain Sarah Hunter has written an open letter to NHS workers and the rest of the UK, giving an athlete's perspective on ways we might help each other to cope with the current crisis.

Here, is the message she posted on the England rugby website: 

"I know these are very uncertain times we are all facing right now. This is a situation none of us have found ourselves in before, but one in which we are all currently learning to adapt and find ways of getting through.

"Over the last week or so, I have seen and felt a sense of community and coming together of people looking out for and helping one another. Rugby’s foundations are built on core values of ‘Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship’ and I strongly feel these values reflect how our country is living during these circumstances.

"In rugby we talk about the strength of the team being the collective rather than the individual and we are seeing the greatest form of ‘Teamwork’ right now in how the nation is working together as one.

"The ‘Respect’ that we are all showing to the NHS and key workers who are putting their lives at risk to save others is remarkable. The #ClapForCarers across the country on Thursday was so moving and shows just how much respect we have for the amazing work of our health service.

"Even during social distancing and self-isolation, we have still seen how we can create ‘Enjoyment’ to keep us entertained. There are social media challenges doing the rounds on a daily basis in which some of us are more successful than others - I’ve got a lot of work to do on my #BallSpinChallenge over the coming weeks! 

"We’ve probably had more interaction with friends and family than ever before because we actually have time to pick up the phone or sign into the new craze that is the HouseParty app (even my mum and dad have managed to join up).

"The biggest and most important form of ‘Discipline’ we can show right now is following exactly what the government is telling us to do. These important instructions will ultimately help us to save lives.

"And lastly, we have ‘Sportsmanship’ in which we have seen some of the kindest and most generous acts. Neighbours, friends and families are helping people in less fortunate positions in many different ways plus we have seen hundreds of thousands of people signing up to become NHS volunteer responders.

"These are only some examples of how we are all following this great sport’s core values and I would encourage you all to keep them in mind throughout this time.

"I know the rugby community is disappointed that the season has come to an end but please do remember that as much as we love rugby, it will always be there.

"So, for those that are missing their daily or weekly dose of rugby, log onto YouTube or England Rugby and watch some re-runs of games - there are some absolute classics out there. For those that need to get their hands on a ball, head out into the back garden or safe space indoors (don’t go breaking any TVs) and practice your skills.

"To the rugby family, let’s do our bit to make this team, our nation, function and perform to the best of its ability again. Be world class at following the government’s instructions and guidelines and remember to keep checking in with friends and family and reach out to those who may be on their own or in need of support.

"To the NHS and health care professionals, thank you from the bottom of all our hearts for the amazing work you continue to do, you are the real heroes.

"To those that are ill due to the Coronavirus, I wish you the speediest of recovery to full health again. For those who are suffering in other ways, please reach out to people and ask for help, you are not alone and it’s okay not to be okay.

"To those who have unfortunately lost loved ones, you have the rugby family’s deepest condolences during this incredibly difficult time."

Sign up to our newsletter