Wales Coach Kevin Johnson Admits He’s Sad To See Another Go As Sian French Becomes Fourth Player To Stand Down

Sian FRENCH of Wales, Canada v Wales - Commonwealth Games Women's Hockey - Stock. Pic: Getty Images.

Wales Coach Kevin Johnson Admits He’s Sad To See Another Go As Sian French Becomes Fourth Player To Stand Down

By Hannah Blackwell

Wales women’s head coach Kevin Johnson had admitted he was disappointed to see Sian French become the fourth member of the squad to retire from international hockey in the last five months.

Centurion French – who had won 130 caps for Wales – has joined Natasha Fortnam, Sophie Robinson and Julie Read in deciding to end her Test career.

French competed for Wales at three Commonwealth games and six European Championships and was a co-captain at the Birmingham Games last summer.

Her decision quickly follows that of Read just a week ago, and the departure of Robinson and Fortnam in the autumn.

“‘Although it is a shame to see Sian step away from international hockey at this time, she leaves behind her a strong and powerful legacy of both performance and leadership which will continue to resonate with this group long after her departure and that should speak volumes about her contribution to Wales senior women,” said Johnson.

“Her consistency of technical and tactical execution as a player brought a calmness and assuredness in our midfield and in recent years she has demonstrated these qualities and more in her leadership duties as both a captain and vice-captain.

“Personally, she has been a tower of support to me as a head coach when it has been necessary and for this I will remain extremely grateful.”

French, who combined her Test career with a job as a physiotherapist, intends to continue playing at club level for Altrincham-based Women’s Division 1 North side Bowdon, where she is also captain.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my playing career and involvement with Hockey Wales and the decision for me to step away has not been an easy one,” said French.

“I feel the time is right for me personally and look forward to the opportunity for new challenges.

“I have been lucky enough to compete at World and European level representing my country, as well as leading the squad in more recent years. I will forever cherish the memories and experiences this has given me.

“The support from players, staff and particularly my family that I have received during my career has been amazing.

“I wish the best for the team in this Summer’s European Championships and in the future.”

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